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Cornell University 

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^V TO 0M? TO aMjdcvov, o (jxoTi^ei, 
irdvTa avdpairov, kprypfuevov eh tov 





This translation of my friend Deissmann's Licht vom Osten has 
been made from the second edition (curiously called " second 
and third") of the German work (Tiibingen, 1909). The 
genesis of the book, which was first published in May, 1908, 
is described in the author's Preface ; its success may be judged 
from the shortness of the time that elapsed before a second 
edition was required. Arrangements for the English translation 
were completed before the book was three months old, and 
a preliminary advertisement appeared in the Athenaeum as 
early as October 10, 1908. It is not the fault of the publishers 
that the English version is ready a year later than was expected. 
There was a miscalculation to begin with, and the work of 
translation proceeded more slowly than had been estimated. 
Well, " a man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or what's a 
heaven for ? " The delay has brought compensations. The 
English reader now has the book in its revised and enlarged 
form, including nine illustrations that were not in the first 
edition (Figs. 22, 23, 25, 29, 41, 42, 43, 49, 50), These 
facsimiles have their value not only for the learned, who (by 
taking pains : see p. 362, n. 1) can spell out most of the old 
writing, but also for the unlearned. Everybody can gain 
from them, as the author says (p. 147), some idea of the 
inimitable individuality of each single papyrus letter. " That 
autograph Letter, it was once all luminous as a burning 
beacon, every word of it a live coal, in its time ; it was once 
a piece of the general fire and light of Human Life, that 
Letter! Neither is it yet entirely extinct: well read, there 


is still in it light enough to exhibit its own self; nay to 
difiiise a faint authentic twilight some distance round it. 
Heaped embers which in the daylight looked black, may still 
look red in the utter darkness. These Letters . . . will con- 
vince any man that the Past did exist ! By degrees the 
combined small twilights may produce a kind of general 
feeble twilight, rendering the Past credible, the Ghosts of 
the Past in some glimpses of them visible ! " ^ 

The printing of the second German edition began while 
the author was in the East, and by his desire I saw the 
work through the press. His return relieved me of responsi- 
bility, but my duties as proof-reader remained unaltered, so 
that for several months the whole of my leisure time was 
devoted to this work. My translation came to a standstill, 
but I acquired particular acquaintance with the original. 

" Light from the East ■" would have been the title of the 
book, literally translated, but as that had akeady been appro- 
priated for the Rev. C. J. Ball's work on the archaeology of 
the Old Testament (1899), a distinguishing adjective had to 
be inserted. Geographically the title refers to the Levant or, 
to use the author's own word, " Anatolia." As used in this 
book, Anatolia does not mean Asia Minor alone, still less 
a definite Turkish province in its western portion. The term 
includes, as the reader wiU quickly discover, Asia Minor, 
Syria, Palestine, Egypt, in fact the whole of the Eastern 
Mediterranean lands, with the islands. 

The whole of this English version has been read in proof 
by the author, and I have had the great advantage of con- 
sulting him in writing on a very large number of points, of 
various importance, at every stage of the printing. The 
amount of correspondence involved has been considerable, but 
such trouble always brings its own reward. In certain details 
this book is more correct than the latest German edition. 
For example, the author has deleted a false reference to 
' Carlyle, Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, Introduction, Ch. V. 


Moschion for the word ■Kepia-aeLa (p. 80). Instances of the 
author's special additions are : p. 55, n. 4 (the whole) ; p. 332, 
n. 4 (last sentence) ; p. 333, n. 2 (the whole) ; p. 341, n, 1 
(last sentence). I have suppressed on my own responsibility 
a mistaken allusion to English crossed cheques on p. 337. One 
slight omission is unintentional, and may be here rectified : 
at p. 278, n. 2, the words " at Didyma " ought to be inserted 
after " next day " in the third Une. All errors detected in 
the German have of course been corrected (e.g., p. 332, n. 2, 
Buresch's reading, given as naiSiaxVi is in fact IlaSia-xv ; 
p. 367, n. 8, line 5, now rightly reads Trepan instead of 
Hadrian). In some few places the German has undergone 
silent adaptation for English readers. The changes are quite 
imimportant, and generally obvious (e.g., the measurements in 
feet and inches instead of the metric system, the sums of 
money expressed in English currency,, and the reference to 
Bradshaw and the Post Office Directory). The allusion to 
the litvurgy of the Church of England on p. 361 is perhaps 
less easily recognisable as an instance of the same kind. 

In other cases, where simple adaptation was impossible, I 
have added an explanatory footnote. These and all other 
additions for which the author must not be held responsible 
are marked (Tr.). Where possible I have supplied references 
to English translations of the works cited, but I am aware 
that more might be accomplished in this direction. Schiirer's 
Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, for example, is 
accessible in English. 

I should have liked very much to find an English parallel 
to the example at p. 220, n. 1, of a writer's saying that his 
letter has grown into an epistle, but my search hitherto has. 
been unsuccessful. The fact is that the words ktter and 
epistle have been so long used synonymously in English (at 
first seriously, and now half humorously) that it requires a 
little effort to adapt oneself to Deissmann's technical use of 
these terms (pp. 147, n. 1 ; 220 ft). The English parallel I 


seek will be found in some nineteenth-century writer, I think, 
if it is discovered at all, for epistle is used as the exact 
equivalent of letter from the time of James Howell (author 
of the Epistolae Ho-Elicmae, 1645) down to Robert Burns. 

If at times the notes which I have added evince a liberal 
conception of relevancy, it must be pleaded that to a person 
like myself, representing the general reader rather than the 
theologian, there were many temptations to indulge the anno- 
tating habit. How delightful it was, for instance, at p. 2S 
to recognise in Dr. C. Rene Gregory the man who in 1883 
made Ruskin ^ " feel like Sardanapalus and Ahasuerus and 
the Caliph Haroun Alraschid and George the 4th and the 
Count of Monte Cristo — and Dives and Croesus and Gorgius 
Midas," the man whose hard work and good writing are 
praised in Fors Clavigera (Letter 94), and who correctly 
dated Ruskin's MS. of the Septuagint ^ 1463 instead of tenth 
century as the owner had thought it to be. The mysterious 
Nysa in Arabia Felix (p. 134 f.) has found its way, in another 
connexion, into English poetry, for Wordsworth's description of 

"the chosen spot 
In Nysa's isle, the embellished grot. 
Whither, by care of Libyan Jove 
(High servant of paternal Love), 
Young Bacchus was conveyed,"' 

was suggested by a later passage in Diodorus. Surprising, after 

the lapse of centuries, was the parallelism between the language 

of Antonis Longus — " that I may do obeisance to [or kiss] thy 

hand" (p. 169) — and the courtly phraseology in England in 

the time of Charles I. Sir John Suckling, for instance, wrote 

in a letter to a nobleman (c. 1632), " If these few lines shall 

have the happiness to kiss your hand, they can assure you . . ." 

A still closer parallel occurs in the letter of the poet Dryden to 

' Letters, Library Edition, II. 465. 
' Library Edition of Buskin's Works, XXXIV. 701. 

' From the poem called " The Brownie's Cell," beginning " To barren heath," 
etc. Cf. Milton, Paradise Lost, iv. 275-279. 


his cousin Honor (23 May, 1655) : " Tliat I may one day again 
have the happiness to kiss your fair hand ; but that is a message 
I would not so willingly do by letter as by word of mouth." 
Dryden again seems to come near anticipating some points of 
this book (pp. 224-234) when he writes ^ thus of the early 
churches and the apostles' care for them : 

''For all their wants they wisely did provide. 
And. preaching by epistles was supplied : 
So great physicians cannot all attend. 
But some they visit, and to some they send. 
Yet all those letters were not writ to all. 
Nor first intended, but occasional. 
Their absent sermons." 

In other particulars, apart from the notes, I have constantly 
tried to make the English reader's version of this book more 
useful, if possible, than the original, thus doing my best to 
support the publishers in their manifest resolve to improve 
upon the German edition as regards externals. When it came, 
therefore, to what Thomas Fuller called " the bag and baggage 
of a book," the Indices, I had no hesitation in preparing them 
on the same elaborate scale as the author himself adopted. 
The Indices may still be regarded as of the author's own design, 
but some changes have been made. References are now given 
as exactly as possible, not by the page only, but also by the 
number of the footnote, and this number is often to be taken 
as a finger-post to a certain part of the text as well as to the 
remark at the foot of the page. I first made this improvement 
in the second German edition, where it was even more necessary 
on account of the large size of the page. In Index II. I have 
now, in accordance with English usage, included the names of 
immortals, which in the German edition must be sought for in 
the Subject Index. For the rest the Subject Index preserves 
the idiosyncrasies of the original. Reference is facilitated by 
placing a good many compound entries under two letters of 
' The Hvnd and the Panther (1687), 11. 334-340. 


the alphabet. Thus "Arm of God," which is indexed only 
under A in the German, can now be found either in this form 
or in the form " God, Arm of." The German Index, though 
so extremely minute, was sometimes more terrifying than helpful. 
On looking up such a word as Alexandria, Berlin, Jesus, or 
Paul, one was confronted with a column of figures, half an inch 
to three inches in length, representing perhaps more than fifty 
references, but with not a single clue to the maze. In the 
English Index something has been done to improve this. 

In the translations of the Greek texts I was naturally guided 
by the German, but I did not feel called upon to follow 
it literally. Even the translations of papyrus letters by 
Grenfell and Hunt, which are of course made directly from' 
the Greek, and which in some cases have already attained 
popular celebrity, did not seem to be the right thing for 
me to use, though I have carefully considered them. There 
is a modern ring about them ^ which separates them off fron» 
the diction of the English Bible, and so would have weakened 
the comparison which it is a main object of this book to 
make between the sacred and profane memorials of Hellenistic 
Greek. I therefore have tried to render the Greek literally 
in language as far as possible resembling that of the Authorised 
Version and the Revised Version. If the word before me 
occurs in the Greek Bible my principle is to adopt by 
preference one of the renderings of King James's translators. 
It is hoped that in this way the kinship of these texts with 
the style and language of the Bible may be made more 
conspicuous, and that even a reader who neglects the Greek 
may be struck by the frequent Biblical echoes. The result 
may leave something to be desired as regards clearness, but 
is it right in translating an ancient letter to give it a per- 
spicuity which the original does not possess ? And that 
ancient letters are not always perspicuous any person acquainted 
only with English may see for himself if he will trouble to 
' Cf . the author's protest about a similar matter, p. 10, n. 2 below. 



look at even a modernised edition of the fifteenth-century 
Pastbn Letters. 

This subject is, I think, sufficiently important to be 
illustrated by a comparison. Take these two renderings of a 
" Saying " in the second Logia fragment from Oxyrhynchus : — 

Jesus saith : Let him that seeketh 
. . . not cease . . . until he findethj 
and when he findeth he shall be 
amazed, and having been amazed 
he shall reign, and having reigned 
he shall rest. 

Jesus saith: Let not him who 
. . cease until he finds, 
and when he finds he shall be 
astonished ; astonished he shall 
reach the kingdom, and having 
reached the kingdom he shall rest. 

The first is as printed at p. 437 below, the second is by Grenfell 
and Hunt. The forms seeJeeth, Jmdeth, Mm that are preferred 
to seeks, finds, him who as being more archaic and Biblical. 
TTie Greek word dafi^em is translated amaze in Mark i. 27, 
X. 32, astonish in Mark x. 24, Acts ix. 6 ; the R.V. uses 
amuze in each place, except in Acts ix. 6, where the word 
disappears from the text. So also ^aatXevto is translated 
reign in Matt. ii. 22, Rom. v. 14, 17, 21, vi. 12, 1 Cor. iv. 8 
(A.V. and R.V.). Note that a/tid has dropped out before 
the second astonished. It is unnecessary to give further 
details, but I suppose there is not one of the translated texts 
but contains at least one instance of specially chosen wording 
on these principles. 

I have promised the author to give here my reasons for 
declining to follow his practice of trying to indicate in the 
translations those portions which represent a restored originaL 
That practice is unnecessary and inexact. Lacunae and 
restorations must of course be indicated as accurately as possible 
in the printed Greek text. The scholar interested in 
these things naturally looks at the Greek and finds there 
what he wants. Those who are not scholars, those in fact 
for whom the translations are provided in the first place, 
take no interest in such minutiae. They can see in a general 
way from the facsimile, or from the printed Greek text, 


that the original is much or little mutilated, and they expect, 
the translation to inform them of the final results of criticism 
applied to the text. Now take an example. Had I followed 
the author's practice I should have written at p. 169 : — 

... if the g[o]ds will. Salute 
Capit[o mu]ch and [my] brother and sis- 
20 [t]er and Se[reni]lla and [my] friend[s]. 

I sent the[e by] Euctemon a little [pi]cture of me. 
Moreov[e]r [my] name is Antonis Ma- 
ximus. Fare thee well, I pray. 
Centuri[a] Athenonica. 
25 There saluteth thee Serenus the son of Agathus [Da]emon, [and 
. . . .]s the son of [. . .] 
r and Turbo the son of Gallonius and .[....]....[....]...[...] 

[....].[...].[ ] 

With all this trouble I should have succeeded in giving only 
an imitation, not a representation of the actual condition of 
the papyrus. A certain number of facts are correctly con- 
veyed : 18 words are defective in the Greek, and 18 words are 
distinguished by brackets in the English ; 35 letters have been 
restored in the Greek, and 35 letters are bracketed in about 
the same relative positions in the English lines; 10 of the 
English words correspond exactly with the Greek in meaning 
and in position in the line, and thus 22 of the restored letters 
may be said to be successfully denoted in the English. In 
the 8 remaining words (involving 13 letters) the right position 
in the line is attained only by bracketing letters in the wrong 
word. Thus an altogether wrong impression is created in the 
reader who pays no attention to the Greek. He may think, for 
instance, that the words my (three times) and hy have been 
supplied whoUy by conjecture. By really is bracketed solely 
because it occurs at that place in the line where in the original 
the Greek word for 'picture stands minus its first two letters. 
This important word, 'picture, which perhaps does deserve to 
be marked as conjectural in an English rendering of the letter, 
gets its brackets merely by accident — because in the English 


order of words it occupies the place of the word translated " of 
me," The German word-order is more elastic, and German 
employs more inflections than English, so that it is easier on 
the whole to carry out this imitative process in German than 
in English, but even then great care is necessary to make the 
imitation successful. It so happens that in the above passage 
the German is in some respects less accurate than the English 
in its use of brackets. The German has only 17 words with 
brackets (there should be 18) ; 40 letters are bracketed (there 
should be only 35) ; 14 words (with 28 letters) may be pro- 
nounced successfully imitated. Of the 4 unsuccessful cases two 
may be due to oversight, and two seem caused by thinking 
more of the words and the sense than of the single letters. 

By discarding this artificial system of brackets the transla- 
tions gain in simplicity for non-specialist readers, and it becomes 
possible in case of need (e.g. in Letter 16, p. 196f.) to use 
brackets to denote words that have to be supplied in order to 
complete the sense in English. 

As a rule I have not retained in the translations the original 
division into lines, which Deissmann endeavours faithfully to 
preserve. There would be practical use in this, if it could be 
done, but even with the flexible word-order of German only 
an approximation can be obtained. In English the approxima- 
tion would have been less satisfactory, and as the pieces are 
mostly short it will usually be possible to refer from the 
translation to the original or vice versa without much trouble, 
even though the lines of the translation are now run on. At 
any rate the reader is no worse off than when using GrenfeU 
and Hunt's translations. Those editors also neglect the division 
into lines ; they distinguish none of the minutiae of restoration, 
and do not even print their English side by side with the 
Greek. In one text of exceptional length quoted in this book 
(p. 254 ff.) the division into lines has been maintained, roughly 
of course, in order to facihtate reference to the Greek. 

A word must be said concerning the abbreviations. There 


are really remarkably few of them in the book. " I.G." occurs 
at p. 13, n. 1, but is explained at p. 11, n. 1. A small numeral 
above the line after the name of a book (thus : SyUoge ^) in- 
dicates the edition. A special monstrosity of this kind occurs 
at p. 336, n. 2, where Kommentar, 8/9 ^ ' denotes the eighth 
edition of vol. 8, and the seventh edition of vol. 9, which are 
bound up together. At p. 216, n. 3, the symbol || means 
" parallel with." The other abbreviations, I hope, will explain 

In the German edition the diacritical marks employed in the 
Greek texts receive as a rule no explanation. I think, however, 
there may be many readers able to appreciate such things who 
are nevertheless not quite certain of their precise signification. 
The following list is based on Grenfell and Hunt's introductory 
note to the Amherst Papyri : — 

Square brackets [ ] indicate a lacuna, e.g. pp. 130 f., 136 f., 

149 if., 168. 
Round brackets ( ) indicate the extension of an abbreviation, 

the resolution of a ligature or symbol, e.g. pp. 152 f., 

158, 160 f. 
Angular brackets <( y indicate that the letters enclosed in 

them were omitted {i.e. not written) in the original, e.g. 

pp. 149, 154, 162, 191. (In the translation on p. 254 

they indicate a word which, though actually written in 

the Greek, should be omitted.) 
Double square brackets [[ ]] indicate that the letters enclosed 

in them were deleted in the original. See p. 151, n. 4. 
Dots within brackets indicate the approximate number of 

letters missing, e.g. pp. 123, 137, 168. 
Dots outside brackets indicate mutilated or otherwise 

illegible letters, e.g. pp. 123, 168. 
Dots under letters indicate a probable but not certain read- 
ing, e.g. pp. 123, 15], 162, 174, 176, 191. 
Dashes under letters indicate an almost certain reading, 


e.g. pp. 162, 168, 172 f., 176, 191. In the text given 
on p. 415 f. the dots and dashes are now for the first 
time used in conformity with the usual practice, 
observed elsewhere throughout the book. In both 
German editions, vmfortunately, though no attention 
was called to the fact, the functions of dot and dash 
were by an oversight reversed in this text. 

A dash above a letter indicates a contraction, e.g. p. 204, 
lines 14 (a/jLapTtfj = afmprlr)v), 24, 28, p. 415 f. Some- 
times it means that the letter is used as a numeral, 
e.g. pp. 164, 186, 188. The mysterious e on p. 176, 
line 23, is perhaps a numeral (= 5). 

An oblique stroke / indicates (p. 102, n. 2) the point 
where a new line begins in the original. 

At the end of November last Mr. H. I. Bell, of the British 
Museum (Department of MSS.), kindly gave me information, 
in answer to an inquiry, which would have enabled me to 
make improvements on p. 47, but by a misunderstanding 
pp. 33-176 were printed off without being submitted to me 
in revise. " Christian town of Menas " (p. 47, n. 2) is mis- 
leading, since Menas was a saint, and it was only in course 
of time that something like a town grew up around the 
sanctuary connected with his tomb, which was a resort of 
pilgrims. The Third Report referred to has been published 
{Dritter Bericht iiber die Ausgrabwng der Menas-Heiligtumer 
in der MareotiswUste, vorgelegt von C. M. Eaufmann, Cairo, 
1908), and contains some account of the ostraca, with photo- 
graphs. They were published by E. Drerup, " Griechische 
Ostraka von den Menas-Heiligtiimem," Romische Quartalschrift, 
1908, pp. 240-247. Drerup is inclined to place the ostraca in 
the sixth rather than the fifth century, but Mr. Bell thinks 
they cannot well be later than the early sixth century. 

In the last chapter, where the author speaks of the future 
problems of Greek lexicography, I ought to have mentioned 



in a note that a "Lexicon of Patristic Greek" is now in 
preparation in England. The idea originated with the Central 
Society of Sacred Study, and its Warden, Dr. Swete, Regius 
Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. Since the death of 
Dr. H. A. Redpath (September, 1908) the Rev. Herbert Moore, 
Vicar of Acton, Nantwich, has acted as receiver of the materials 
collected by voluntary readers from the Greek Fathers down 
to A.D. 500. If sufficient helpers ^ come forward the period 
may be extended to a.d. 750. 

Dr. Milligan's Selections from the Greek Papyri,, referred to 
in the note on p, 21 as in preparation, appeared at the end 
of February, 1910. 

Nothing remains now but the pleasant duty of thanking 
several kind helpers. The author himself is the person whom 
I have troubled most, and to whom I am most indebted. My 
grateful acknowledgments are also due to Mr. H. I. Bell, for 
the information mentioned above ; to my friend the Rev. 
W. H. Hayman, Rector of Leckford, Hants, under whose hos- 
pitable roof some of the first proofs were corrected, for his 
opinion in certain Hebrew matters ; to my friend Mr. F. W. 
Henkel, B.A., F.R.A.S., for making a preliminary translation 
of the Appendices ; to my colleague Professor Gradenwitz 
for help with the word irpoavoSoT)]^ (p. 327, n. 4) ; and to 
Miss C. E. Strachan, B.A., my sister, who read the proofs as 
far as p. 184, and afterwards looked up all sorts of little 
points for me at the British Museum. The proof-reading, 
I may say, was made as easy and pleasant a task as possible 
by the printers, Messrs. Hazell, Watson & Viney, of Aylesbury, 
and their reader, Mr. W. H. Bridges, who sent out the proofs 
in really beautiful condition. I was the better able to 
appreciate this because in the smudgy proofs which I was 
obliged to read for the second German edition one was often 

' There are already more than 100 of them, Mr. Moore tells me, at work 
on the great bulk of the writings before A.D. 500, equivalent to 85 volumes 
of Migne. 11 more volumes of Migne would include the later treatises down 
to St. John of Damascus. 


in doubt whether the accents were there or not, the distinction 
between full-stop and comma was often unrecognisable, and 
the sheets sometimes came back from correction looking worse 
than they did before. To Mr. Bridges I am indebted for 
much more than the technical excellence of the proofs. His 
queries were always valuable, and as an instance of his interest 
in the book I may mention that he called my attention to 
the letter in the Times mentioned at p. 280, n. 1, which I 
also discovered for myself independently a few hours before 
his information arrived. I shall never know exactly how much 
of the excellence in the proofs was due to his vigilant eye 
and how much to the good workmanship of the compositors. 
About thirty of them were employed on the book, it seems, 
and their English names were pleasant to read on the MS. that 
came back to me in a foreign town, and my thoughts often 
ran gratefully to those men of Aylesbury. 

The few errors that I have observed to be still in need of 
correction are all of my making : — 

P. 37, 1. 3, read Praefeot. 

P. 77, 1. 9, read No. 280^. 

P. 85, 1. 2 of notes, read hyperbole. 

P. 95, n. 4, 1. 2, for 138 read 183. 

P. 99, n. 1. Insert at beginning of note the reference Te»ta- 

mentum Judae, c. 8. 
P. 105, 1. 4, read Pecysis. 
P. 157, 1. 1, read waiting. 
P. 218, 1. 6, read Nilus. 
P. 226, n. 3, 1. 1, read Paris Papyrus. 
P. 231, n. 2, 1. 1, read petition of Dionysia. 
P. 308, 1. 11, for is read was formerly. 
P. 358, n. 2, 1. 2, read 376„. 
P. 443, 1. 18, rtad considerations. 

The colophon is taken from a Greek MS. of the year 
939 A.D. I noted it in Montfaucon's Palaeographia Graeca a 
good many years ago, when I was only a scribe ; but now I am 
a fei/o? as well, and I think the time has come to use it. 

L. R. M. S, 

Hbidblberg, April, 1910. 


I WAS in the midst of preparations for a second 
Anatolian journey when I heard from Dr. Paul 
Siebeck, about Christmas, 1908, that the first edition 
was nearly exhausted, I was able, however, before 
my departure, to revise the book, making improve- 
ments and additions to fit it for its new public 
appearance. Many readers will welcome the con- 
siderable increase in the number of illustrations. I 
am indebted to many friends and colleagues who 
have corrected me and added to my knowledge by 
letter or in reviews. Numerous instances of this 
indebtedness wiU be found in the notes. . . . 

My second journey, begun on 24 February and 
safely ended on 6 May, 1909, was undertaken with 
financial assistance fi'om the Prussian Ministry of 
Education. I travelled with my friends Carl 
Schmidt, Wilhelm Weber, and one younger com- 
panion. Our route led us via Constantinople to 
Asia Minor (Eski Shehr, Angora, Konieh and 
environs, Afium-Kara-Hissar, [Ala-shehr Philadelphia, 
Sardis,J Smyrna, Ephesus, Laodicea, Hierapolis, 
Mersina, Pompeiopolis, Tarsus), Syria (Alexandretta, 
Antioch on the Orontes, Beyrout, Baalbec, Damas- 
cus), Galilee (Tiberias, Tell Hum Capernaum and 


environs, Nazareth), Haifa with Carmel, Samaria, 
Judaea (Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, Dead Sea, 
Jordan, Jaffa), and Lower Egypt (Port Said, Cairo 
and environs, Alexandria). This long itinerary 
will gain in distinctness if I say, speaking in terras 
of the New Testament, that I was privileged to see 
the homes of St. Paul and the Saviour Himself, 
and the principal roads traversed by them, so far 
as these scenes of New Testament story were not 
yet known to me from my first journey. 

Looking back on the second journey, which took 
me also for a brief space into the homeland of the 
papyri and ostraca of which use is made in this 
book, I consider it an advantage that I did not 
see Palestine until after I had seen Asia Minor and 
Syria. The great uniformity of the culture of the 
Mediterranean lands was thus brought home to me 
more clearly, and I think also that I was thus 
better prepared to realise the peculiar characteristics 
of Palestine. I consider it equally important that 
Jerusalem should be entered from the north, by 
the high-road from Galilee. That is the historical 
road to the Holy City, the pilgrims' way. Thus 
Jesus as a boy of twelve, thus St. Paul as a young 
man, and thus the Crusaders advanced to conquer 
the city, and this ought still to be the only approach 
to Jerusalem. 

Only thus was it that Jerusalem became to me 
in many respects the climax of the whole expedition. 
The mass of pathetic facts and problems connected 
with a unique past, the motley commotion in the 


social and religious present, where, however, vigorous 
tjrpes of ancient piety have kept alive to this day — 
in all this the multitude of single observations 
accumulated on the journey united to form one 
great general impression of the essential character 
and value of the religious East, which is a unity 
amidst all the confusion of tongues and all the 
play of colours in the costumes. 

Of course it has not been possible for me yet to 
work up these observations. For that 1 must have 
time. But when I think of all that I have learnt 
(I trust) for the better understanding of the gospels, 
the letters of St. Paul, the Acts of the Apostles, 
and the Revelation of St. John, I cannot but express 
my gratitude to the Ministry of Education for 
enabling me to undertake this journey. I wish that 
right many of my fellow-students might be given 
the same opportunity of beholding with their own 
eyes the scenes of gospel and Primitive Christian 
history. The New Testament is the most important 
monument of the East that we possess ; those who 
study it have therefore a claim upon the East. 

Adolf Deissmann. 

Berlin- WiLMERSDOBF, 9 June, 1909. 


"Light from the East" — it is a curious title for 
the book, but before you censure it just look for 
a moment at the Eastern sunshine. On the castled 
height of Pergamum observe the wondrous light 
bathing the marble of Hellenistic temples at noon- 
day. At Hagios Elias in Thera look with hushed 
rapture upon the golden shimmer of the same light 
over the endless expanse of the Mediterranean, and 
then in the vino santo of the hospitable monks 
divine the glow of that same sun. Mark what 
tones this light has at command even within stone 
walls, when at Ephesus a patch of deep blue sky 
gleams through the roof of a ruinous mosque upon 
an ancient column now mated to a fig-tree. Nay, let 
but a single beam of the Eastern sun peep through 
a chink of the door into the darkness of a poor 
Panagia chapel : a dawning begins, a sparkling and 
quickening ; the one beam seems to wax twofold, 
tenfold ; day breaks, you take in the pious meaning 
of the wall frescoes and the inscribed words, and 
the miserable poverty that built the shrine is 

Make that sunbeam your own and take it with 


you to the scene of your labours on the other side 
of the Alps. If you have ancient texts to decipher, 
the sunbeam will bring stone and potsherd to speech. 
If you have sculptures of the Mediterranean world 
to scrutinise, the sunbeam will put life into them 
for you — men, horses, giants, and all. And if 
you have been found worthy to study the sacred 
Scriptures, the sunbeam will reanimate the apostles 
and evangehsts, will bring out with greater dis- 
tinctness the august figure of the Redeemer from 
the East, Him whom the Church is bound to 
reverence and to obey. 

And then, if you speak of the East, you cannot 
help yourself: made happy by its marvels, thankful 
for its gifts, you must speak of the light of the East. 

After fifteen years spent in studying the Greek 
Bible and other secular documents of the Hellenistic 
East, it was a matter of extreme moment to me 
to be privileged in the spring months of 1906 to 
take part in an expedition, assisted by a grant from 
the Baden Ministry of Education, for study purposes 
to Vienna, Buda Pesth, Bucharest, Constantinople, 
Asia Minor, Greece with the principal islands, and 
Southern Italy. The tour was organised and con- 
ducted in masterly fashion by Friedrich von Duhn. 
In the great museums and at the ■centres where 
international excavations are in progress we had not 
only him to instruct us, but the foremost authorities 
in archaeology and epigraphy — Austrians, Hungarians, 
Roumanians, Turks, our own German countrymen. 


Greeks, Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Italians — 
rendered us the greatest assistance in our studies. 
We were indebted most particularly to Wilhelm 
Dorpfeld and my old schoolfellow Theodor Wiegand. 
For me personally the whole expedition was hallowed 
with peculiar, unforgettable solemnity owing to a 
deeply affecting family bereavement, the sudden 
news of which reached me at Smyrna. Thus it 
dwells in my memory now as a great event to which 
I owe both widening and deepening of experience. 

On my arrival home I began to write a book, 
combining my impressions of the tour with observa- 
tions I had already made in the course of my studies. 
The foundation was provided by a course of lectures ^ 
which I gave at the Hochstift, Frankfort on the 
Main, in 1905, and which appeared afterwards in 
English, first in serial^ and then in book form.' I 
was also able to make use of smaller articles of 
mine, most of which appeared in Die ChristUche 
Welt, some being reprinted with my permission in 
the eighth volume of Ernst Lohmann's journal, 
Sonnen-Aufgang : Mitteilungen aus dem Orient 

The linguistic details in Chapter II. of the present 
book are to some extent supplemented in my 
Cambridge lectures,* one of which is devoted to 
Septuagint philology. Of the new and great tasks 

' An abstract of the course, entitled " Das Neue Testament und die Sohrift- 
denkmaler der romischen Kaiserzeit," was printed in the Jahrbueh des I'reisn, 
DeuticTien Hoohntifts zu Fra/nkfwrt am Main, 1905, pp. 79-93. 

« The Expository Times, October 1906 to April 1907. 

' New Light on the New Testament, Edinburgh, 1907. 

* The Philology of the Greek Bible, London, 1908. 


which the new texts set before the Septuagint 
scholar I have spoken but occasionally in the present 
book ; but nearly all the observations that I have 
brought together on the New Testament could be 
carried further back and applied in like manner to 
the Greek Old Testament. 

At the desire of my pubhsher, Dr. Paul Siebeck, 
who displayed great and intelligent interest in the 
whole field of my . researches, I have written the 
main text of the book (as distinct from the foot- 
notes) in a manner to be understood in all essentials 
by the general reader without specialist knowledge. 
For the same reason the Greek and Latin texts 
have been furnished with translations — a good means, 
by the way, of enabling the author to check his 
impressions. Dr. Siebeck complied most willingly 
with my suggestion that a large number of the more 
important texts should be shown in facsimile. In 
obtaining the necessary photographs, rubbings, etc., 
I was assisted by several scholars and publishers at 
home and abroad, and with especial liberality by 
the Directors of the Royal Museums (Berlin), the 
Imperial Postal Museum (Berlin), the Epigraphical 
Commission of the Royal Prussian Academy of 
Sciences, Lord Amherst of Hackney, the Heidelberg 
University Library, the Egypt Exploration Fund 
(London), the British Museum, and the Imperial 
Austrian Archaeological Institute. For all this aid 
I return respectful thanks. 

From the beginning I was accompanied in my 
work by the practical sympathy of my friend Ulrich 


Wilcken, who was also one of those who helped 
by reading the proofs. The extent of my indebted- 
ness to this pioneer worker in classical antiquities 
cannot be gauged from the mere quotations in the 
book itself. . . . 

Little did I dream in October last (1907), when 
the book began to be printed, that its completion 
would mark my farewell to the University of 
Heidelberg. Even after my summons to another 
sphere of work I should have preferred to be able 
to pubhsh it in my capacity as a Heidelberg 
Professor, for it is a Heidelberg book. But that 
summons caused the printing to be delayed some 
weeks. If 1 am thus unable to write Heidelberg 
after my name on the title-page, I must at least 
in this place acknowledge what help and stimulus, 
what true fellowship and friendship Heidelberg has 
brought me. I regard it as a most kindly dis- 
pensation of Providence that for more than ten 
years I have been privileged to live, work, and 
learn in this ancient University — and for just those 
ten years in which, while one's own aims become 
gradually clearer, one is still independent and re- 
ceptive enough to be moulded by the most various 
kinds of men and institutions. 

Adolf Deissmann. 

Castagnola, Lake of Lugano, 
J9 March, 1908. 



The Problem — Discovery and Nature of the New 

Texts 1-53 

1. The Problem 1 

2, The Texts 9 

(a) Inscriptions 10 

(6) Papyri 20 

(c) Ostraca ....... 41 


The Language of the New Testament illustrated 

FROM THE New Texts 54-142 

1. The Historical and the Dogmatic Method of 

New Testament Philology. Principal Problems 54 

2. The New Testament a Record of late Colloquial 

Greek 62 

3. Examples 66 

A. Phonology and Accidence ... 66 

B. Onomatology ...... 68 

C. Vocabulary 69 

(a) Words 69 

(6) Meanings of Words .... 107 

(c) Standing Phrases and Fixed Formulae 117 

D. Syntax 121 

E. Style 127 

4. The Essential Character of the New Testament 140 





The New Testament as Literature, illustrated by 

THE New Texts 143-246 

1. The Problem of the Literary Development of 

Christianity 143 

2. The Essential Distinction between " Literary ■" 

and " Non-Literary " 145 

3. A Series of Twenty-one Ancient Letters (from 

Originals), representative of Non-Literary 
Writing 147 

4. The Essential Distinction between the Letter 

and the Epistle 217 

5. Ancient Letters and Epistles .... 221 

6. Primitive Christian Letters .... 224 

7. Primitive Christian Epistles .... 234 

8. The Literary Development of Primitive Chris- 

tianity 238 

9. The Essential Character of the New Testament 244 


Social akd Religious History in the New Testament, 


1. Clues in the New Testament referring to the 

Subject. Remarks on Method . . . 247 

2. The Cultural Background of Primitive Chris- 

tianity 264 

3. The Religious World contemporary with Primi- 

tive Christianity 288 

4. The Competing Cults 288 

5. Types of Individual Souls among the Ancient 

Non-Literary Classes . . ' . . . 290 

6. Stimuli derived from Contemporary Popular 

Religion 302 

CONTENTS xxxiii 

7. Stimuli derived from Contemporary Poptdar 

Morality 312 

8. Stimuli derived from Contemporary Popular 

Law ........ 

9. Christ and the Caesars : Parallelism in the 
Technical Language of their Cults 

10. The Theological and the Religious Element in 

Primitive Christianity 384 

11. The Forces enabling Primitive Christianity to 

gain Converts 390 

12. The Essential Character of the New Testament 399 


Retrospect — Futuee Woek of Reseaech . . 401-419 

1. Retrospect 401 

2. Christianity Popular in its Personalities and 

Forms of Expression ..... 404 

3. Future Work for the Philologist . . . 406 

4. Future Work for the Theologian . . . 409 

5. The New Testament Lexicon . . . .411 


Jewish Peayees foe Vengeance found at Rheneia . 423 


On the Text of the Second Logia Fragment from 



The Supposed Fragment of a Gospel at Caieo . . 441 




A Jewish Insckiption in the Theatee at Miletus , 446 


The so-called "Planetary Insceiption" in the Theatee 

AT Miletus a late Cheistian Protective Chaem . 448 


Uneecognised Biblical Quotations in Syeian And Meso- 

poTAMiAN Insceiptions 456 


I. Places . 461 

II, Ancient Peesons 466 


IV. Subjects 480 

V. MoDEEN Peesons ....... 494 

VI. Passages Citei/ 503 


Fie. FAOB 

1. Door Inscription from Synagogue at Corinth, Imperial Period. 

Now in Corinth Museum 14 


2. The Papyrus Plant. From H. Guthe, Kurzes BibelwSrterbuch 22 

3. Ostracon from Upper Egypt, inscribed with Luke xxii. 70 f., 

7th cent. A.D. Now in the Institut fr'angais d'Archeo- 
logie orientale, Cairo 50 

4. Site of the Excavations in Delos. From a photograph by Miss 

M. C. de GrafFenried 53 

5. Tombstone from Biugerbriickj early Imperial Period. Now at 

Kreuznach 69 

6. Limestone Block from the Temple of Herod at Jerusalem, 

inscribed with a warning notice. Early Imperial Period. 
Now in the Imperial New Museum at Constantinople . . 75 

7. Wooden Mummy-label from Egypt, Imperial Period . . 98 

8. Stele with Decree of Honour from Syme, 2nd cent. b.c. Now 

in the chapel of St. Michael Tharrinos, Syme . . . 102 

9. Ostracon, Thebes, 4 August, 63 a.m. Receipt for Isis Collec- 

tion. Now in the Berlin Museum 105 

10. Limestone Slab, Magnesia on the Maeander, 138 or 132 b.c. 

Judicial Award by the Magnesians, lines 62-80. Now, in 

the Berlin Museum 106 

11. Ostracon, Thebes, 32-33 a.d. Receipt for Alien Tax. Now 

in the Author's collection Ill 

12. Ostracon, Thebes, 2nd cent. a.d. Order for Payment of Wlieat. 

• Now in the Author's collection 123 




13. Isis Inscription from los. Writing of the 2nd or 3rd cent. a.d. 
Contents pre-Christian. Now in the Church of St. John 
the Divine, los 136 

14, 15. The Oldest Greek Letter yet discovered, Address (Fig. 14) and 
Text (Pig. 15) : Mnesiergus of Athens to his Housemates. 
Leaden tablet, 4th cent. b.c. Now in the Berlin Museum . 148 

16. Letter from Demophon, a wealthy Egyptian, to Ptolemaeus, 

a police official, circa 245 B.C. Papyrus from Hibeh. Now 

in the possession of the Egypt Exploration Fund . .150 

17. Letter from Asclepiades, an Egyptian landowner, to Portis. 

Ptolemaic Period. Ostracon from Thebes. Now in the 
possession of Ulrich Wilcken 152 

18. Lietter from Hilarion, an Egyptian labourer, to Alis, his wife. 

Papyrus, written at Alexandria, 17 June, 1 b.c. Now in 

the possession of the Egypt Exploration Fund . . . 154 

19,20. Letter from Mystarion, an Egyptian olive-planter, to Sto- 
toetis, a chief priest. Address (Fig. 19) and Text (Fig. 20), 
13 September, 50 a.d. Papyrus from the Fayum. Now 
in the Imperial Postal Museum at Berlin .... 157 

21. Letter from Harmiysis, a small Egyptian farmer, to Papiscus, 

an official, and others, 24 July, 66 a.d., lines 1-31. 
Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now in the Cambridge Uni- 
versity Library 160 

22. Letter from Nearchus, an Egyptian, to Heliodorus, 1st or 2nd 

cent. A.D. Papyrus from Egypt. Now in the British 
Museum 162 

23. Letter from Irene, an Egyptian, to a Family in Mourning;, 

2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now in the 
Library of Yale University 164 

24. Letter from Apion, an Egyptian soldier in the Roman Army, 

to his father Epimachus, Misenum, 2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus 
from the Fayum. Now in the Berlin Museum . . . 168 

25. Letter from Apion (now Antonins Maximus), an Egyptian 

soldier in the Roman Army, to his sister Sabina, 2nd 
cent. A.D. Papyrus from the Fayum. Now in the Berlin 
, Museum 172 



26. Letter from a Prodigal Son, Antonis Longus, to his mother 

Nilus, 2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus from the Fayum. Now in 

the Berlin Museum 17© 

27. Letter from Aurelius Archelaus, beneficiarius, to Julius Domi- 

tiuSj military tribune, lines 1-24, 2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus 
from Oxyrhynchus. Now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford 183 

28. Letter from Harpocras, an Egyptian, to Phthoraonthes, 29 

December, 192 a.d. Ostracon from Thebes. Now in 

the Author's collection 186 

29. Letter from Theon, an Egyptian boy, to his father Theon, 

2nd or 3rd cent. a.d. Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now 

in the Bodleian Library, Oxford 188- 

30. Letter from Pacysis, an Egyptian, to his son, about the 

3rd cent. a.d. Ostracon from Thebes. Now in the 
Author's collection 191 

31. The Oldest Christian Letter extant in the Original. Letter 

from an Egyptian Christian to his fellow-Christians in 
the Arsinoite nome. Papyrus, written at Rome between 
264 (265) and 282 (281) a.d. Formerly in the possession 
of the late Lord Amherst of Hackney 194 

32. Letter from Psenosiris, a Christian presbyter, to Apollo, a 

Christian presbyter at Cysis (Great Oasis) Papyrus, 
beginning of the 4th cent. a.d. (Diocletian persecution). 
• Now in the British Museum 202 

33. Letter (with Address) from Justinus, an Egyptian Christian, 

to Papnuthius, a Christian. Papyrus, middle of the 4th 
cent. A.D. Now in the University Library, Heidelberg . 204. 

34. Letter from Caor, Papas of Hermupolis, to Flavins Abinnaeus, 

an oificer at Dionysias in the Fayum. Papyrus, drca 

346 A.D. Now in the British Museum .... 20& 

36. , Letter from Samuel, Jacob, and Aaron, candidates for the 
diaconate, to Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis (.''). Coptic 
ostracon, circa 600 a.d. (verso). Now in the possession 
of the Egypt Exploration Fund 210' 

36. Letter probably from Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis (.^) to 
the clergy of his diocese. Coptic ostracon, circa 600 a.d. 
(verso). Now in the possession of the Egypt Exploration 
Fund 214 



37. The first lines of the Epistle to the Romans in a rustic hand. 

Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, banning of the 4th cent. a.d. 
Now in the Semitic Museum of Harvard University . . 232 

38. Marble Inscription from Cos, containing the title Euergetes, 

circa 53 a.d. Now in Sarrara Yussuf's garden wall, in the 
town of Cos 248 

39. Folio 33 recto of the Great Magical Papyrus, written in Egypt 

circa 300 a.d. Now in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris 251 

40. Folio 33 verso of the Great Magical Papyrus, written in Egypt 

mrcxi 300 a.d. Now in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris 253 

41. Report of Judicial Proceedings before the Praefect of Egypt, 

G. Septimius Vegetus, 85 a.d. Papyrus. Now at Florence 267 

42. Edict of the Praefect of Egypt, G. Vibius Maximus, 104 a.d. 

Papyrus (part of a letter copy-book). Now in the British 
Museum 268 

43. " Angel " Inscription from the Island of Thera. Gravestone, 

Imperial Period. Now in the Thera Museum . . . 279 

44. Epigram on the Tomb of Chrysogonus of Cos. Marble Altar, 

Imperial Period. Now built into the wall of a house in Cos 296 

45. Charm for "Binding." Leaden tablet from Attica, first half 

ofthe 4th cent. B.c 307 

46. Charm for "Binding." Ostracon from Ashmunen, late Im- 

perial Period. Formerly in the possession of the late 

F. Hilton Price, London 809 

47. Marble Pedestal from Pergamum with an Inscription in honour 

of the Gymnasiarch Apollodorus of Pergamum. Roman 
Period. Original still at Pergamum 315 

48. Marble Tombstone of Otacilia Polla of Pergamum, about the 

time of Hadrian. Now in the garden of Pasha-Oglu 
Hussein, in the Selinus valley, near Pergamum . . . 319 

49. Retaining-waU of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, inscribed 

with numerous ancient records of manumissions . ■• . . 324 

i50. Note of Hand for 100 Silver Drachmae, 1st cent. a.d. Papyrus 

from the Fayum. Now in the Berlin Museum . . . 335 



61. Original Limestone Plate (charagma) inscribed with the seal of 

Augustus. Egypt J 6-6 a.d. Now in the Berlin Museum . 346 

52. Marble Pedestal from Pergamum with an Inscription in honour 
of a Priestess of Athene. Imperial Period. Now in the 
Berlin Museum 349 

63. Marble Pedestal from Pergamum with an Inscription in honour 
of Augustus. Age of Augustus. Now in the Berlin 
Museum 350 

54. Marble Slab from Magnesia on the Maeander with a Votive 
Inscription for Nero, 50-54 a.d. Original at Pergamum ; 
Plaster Cast in the Berlin Museum 351 

66. Wall of the Propylon of the Temple at El-Khargeh (Great 
Oasis) inscribed with an Edict of the Praefect Ti. Julius 
Alexander, 6 July, 68 a.d., lines 1-46 . . . .362 

66. Ostracon, Thebes. Dated on a Sebaste Day in August or 
September, 33 a.d. Receipt for Embankment and Bath 
Tax. Now in the Author's collection 364 

57,58. Inscription of the Hymnodi of the god Augustus and the 
goddess Roma on a marble altar at Pergamum, temp. 
Hadrian, right side (B, Fig. 67) and left side (D, Fig. 58). 
Now in the courtyard of the Konak at Pergamum . . 365 

69. Block of Blue Limestone from a PiUar of the North Hall of 
the Market at Priene, with the Calendar Inscription, 
lines 1-31, circa 9 b.c. Now in the Berlin Museum . . 370 

60. Block of White Marble from a Pillar of the North Hall of 

the Market at Priene, with the Calendar Inscription, 
lines 32-60, eJrca 9 B.C. Now in the Berlin Museum . . 371 

61. Marble Stele from Cos, Tombstone of Hermes, an Imperial 

Freedmau, after 161 a.d. Now in the house of Said All 

in the town of Cos 382 

62. Otwmasticon sacrum. Papyrus from Egypt, 3rd or 4th cent. a.d. 

Now in the University Library, Heidelberg . . .416 

63. Title-page of the first New Testament Lexicon, by Georg Pasor, 

Herborn, 1619. From a copy in the University Library, 
Heidelberg 416 



•64, 66. Marble Stele from Rheneia, inscribed with a prayer for 
vengeance on the murderers of Heraclea, a Jewess of 
Delos, circa 100 b.c, front view (A, Fig. 64) and back view 
(Bj Fig. 65). Now in the Musemn at Bucharest . . 424 

■66. Marble Stele from Rheneia, inscribed with a prayer for 
vengeance on the murderers of Marthina, a Jewess of Delos, 
circa 100 b.c. Now in the National Museum, Athens . 425 

67. Inscription for the Jewish Seats in the Theatre at Miletus. 

Imperial Period 446 

^8. Christian Archangel Inscription in the Theatre at Miletus. 

Early Byzantine Period 449 



1. The gospel was first preached beneath an Anatolian 
sky. Jesus and Paul were sons of the East, The 
" Amen " of our daily prayers, the " Hosanna " and 
" Hallelujah " of our anthems, names such as 
" Christ " and " EvangeUst " remind us constantly 
of the beginnings of our religious communion. Like 
other words distinctive of our faith, they are of 
Semitic and Greek origin. They take us back not 
only to the soil of Galilee and Judaea but to the 
international highways of the Greek or rather 
Graecised Orients Jesus preaches in His Aramaic 
mother tongue, Paul in the cosmopolitan Greek of 
the Roman Empire. 

So too the book which preserves an echo of the 
message of Jesus and His apostles: the New 
Testament is a gift from the East. We are accus- 
tomed to read it under a Northern sky, and though 
it is by origin an Eastern book, it is so essentially 
a book of humanity that we comprehend its spirit 
even in the countries of the West and North. But 
details here and there, and the historical setting, 
would be better understood by a son of the East, 
especially a contemporary of the evangelists and 
apostles, than by us. Even to-day the traveller 
who follows the footsteps of the apostle Paul from 



Corinth past the ruins of Ephesus to Antioch and 
Jerusalem, finds much revealed to him in the sun- 
shine of the Levant which he would not necessarily 
have seen at Heidelberg or Cambridge. 

In our acts of worship we have, thank God, 
nothing to do with the historical setting of the 
sacred text. The great outlines of the shining 
golden letters are clearly visible even in the semi- 
darkness of the shrine, and here our business is 
with things holy, not historical. 

But theology, as an historical science, has a vital 
interest in the discovery of the historical setting, 
the historical background. 

The ancient world, in the widest sense of that 
term, forms the historical background to Primitive 
Christianity. It is that great civilised world fringing 
the Mediterranean which at the period of the new 
religious departure displayed a more than outward 
compactness so far as the Hellenisation and 
Romanisation ^ of the East and the Orientalisation 
of the West had worked together for unity. 

Any attempt to reconstruct this mighty background 
to the transformation scene in the world's religion 
will base itself principally on the literatures of that 
age, — -and on earher Uteratures in so far as they 
were forces vital enough to have influenced men's 
minds in the Imperial period. There are two groups 
of literary memorials deserving of special attention : 
firstly, the remains of Jewish tradition contained in 
the Mishna, the Talmuds, and kindred texts ; 
secondly, the Graeco-Roman authors of the Imperial 

Of neither of these groups, however, shall I speak 

' On this hitherto little-studied problem of. Ludwig Hahn, Som vmA 
Momanismut im grieoMsch-romiseTten Osten, Leipzig, 1907. 


here, although I am not unaware of the great im- 
portance of this body of literary evidence. It were 
indeed a task well worthy of a scholar to devote his 
life to producing a new edition of Johann Jakob 
Wetstein's New Testament.^ That splendid book is 
now a century and a half old, and its copious collec- 
tion of parallels from Jewish and Graeco-Roman 
literature could be supplemented from our present 
stores of scientific antiquarian lore : it was one of 
the dreams of my student days. But on the whole 
ancient Jewish literature at the present time is 
being explored by so many theologians, both Jewish 
and Christian, — the Christian with fewer prejudices 
than formerly, and the Jewish more methodically, — 
and on the whole the Graeco-Roman hterature of 
the Imperial period has attracted so many in- 
dustrious workers, that we are already famihar with 
a wide extent of the literary background of Primitive 
Christianity. Indeed, the literary memorials are 
valued so highly that in some quarters it is 
consciously or unconsciously believed that the 
literature of the Imperial period wiU enable us 
to restore the historical background of Primitive 
Christianity in its entirety. 

Those who think so forget that the literature, even 
if we now possessed the whole of it, is after aU only 
a fragment of the ancient world, though an important 
fragment. They forget that a reconstruction of the 

• Novum Teitammttv/m, Chaeoum oum leetionihus variamtihus et oommentario 
pleniore opera Jo. Jac. Wetstenii, Amstelaedami, 1751-2, 2 vols, folio. 
Dedicated to Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of George II. Contains prole- 
gomena, apparatus criticus, and commentary. H.g. Matt. ix. 12, " they that be 
whole need not a physician," is illustrated by quotations from Ovid, Diogenes 
Laertes, Pausanias, Stobaeus, Dio Chrysostom, Artemidorus, Plato, Quintilian, 
Seneca, and Plutarch. There are appendices on the use of variants and on 
interpretation (especially of the Apocalypse) ; a list of authors quoted ; a, 
Greek index verborum ; and, to crown the feast, the Syriac text of the Epistles 
of Clement is given. (Te.) 


ancient world is bound to be imperfect if founded 
solely on the literary texts, and that comparisons 
between Primitive Christianity and this world re- 
stored in fragments made up of fragments might 
easily prove erroneous. Even so brilliant and learned 
a scholar as Eduard Norden,^ in criticising Primitive 
Christianity in its linguistic and literary aspects, 
insisted upon contrasts between St. Paul and the 
ancient world which in reality are mere contrasts 
between artless non-literary prose and the artistic 
prose of literature. Such contrasts are quite un- 
connected with the opposition in which Primitive 
Christianity stood to the ancient world. 

As an attempt to fill in some gaps in the historical 
background of Primitive Christianity, and as an 
antidote to extreme views concerning the value of 
the literary memorials, the following pages are offered 
to the reader. I propose to show the importance of 
the non-literary written memorials of the Roman 
Empire in the period which led up to and witnessed 
the rise and early development of Christianity, the 
period, let us say, from Alexander to Diocletian or 
Constantine. They consist of innumerable texts on 
stone, metal, wax, papyrus, wood, or earthenware, 
now made accessible to us by archaeological discovery 
and research. The discoveries belong chiefly to the 
nineteenth century, which we might almost describe 
as the century of epigraphical archaeology ^ ; but their 

' Die antike Kungtproia vom VJ. JaJi/rhimdert v. Chr. his in die Zeit der 
Menaisttmee, Leipzig, 1898. See the review of this book in the Theol. Bundsohau 
6 (1902) p. 66 ff. 

' Geneial readers as well as specialists will appreciate the review of the 
century's work (restricted, however, to the archaeology of art) in Adolf 
Michaelis, Die arehdologiiolien, Untdeehungen des neimzelmten Jahrhvmderts, 
Leipzig, 1906 ; 2nd ed. 1908, under the title Ein Jahrhvmdert MnstaroMolo- 
giicher Entdeokungen. [Now accessible to English readers in translation, A 
Century of Archaeological IKsooveries, London (J. Murray), 1908. Te.] 


importance for the historical understanding of Primi- 
tive Christianity is still far from being generally 
recognised, and it will be much longer before they 
are fully exhausted. 

How different it has been with the cuneiform in- 
scriptions of the East and their application to Old 
Testament study ! Men who knew much about the 
Bible, but nothing of cuneiform, entered into com- 
petition with noisy and gifted cuneiform scholars, to 
whom the Bible had not revealed its mysteries, and 
an immense literature informed the world of the 
gradual rise of the edifice behind the scaffolding amid 
the dust and din of the Babylonian building-plot. 
It was spoken of in the wardrooms of our men-of- 
war and in the crowded debating halls of the trade 

It cannot be said that New Testament scholarship 
has hitherto profited on the same scale by the new 
discoveries. The relics of antiquity found in Mediter- 
ranean lands are able to throw light on the New 
Testament, but their value is not so obvious as that 
of the cuneiform inscriptions for the Old Testament, 
and can certainly not be made clear to every layman 
in a few minutes. No tablets have yet been found 
to enable us to date exactly the years of office of 
the Procurators FeUx and Festus or of the Proconsul 
Gallio, which would settle an important problem of 
early Christian history, and Christian inscriptions and 
papyri of the very earliest period are at present 
altogether wanting. And yet the discoveries made 
by our diggers of archaeological treasure in Greece, 
Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt are of very great 
importance indeed for the light they throw on the 
earhest stages of Christianity. 

It is not merely that the systematic study of the 


new texts increases the amount of authentic first-hand 
evidence relating to the Imperial period. The point 
is that the literary memorials are supplemented by 
an entirely new group, with quite a new bearing 
on history. 

In the literary memorials, what we have is practi- 
cally the evidence of the upper, cultivated class about 
itself. The lower class is seldom allowed to speak, 
and where it does come to the front — in the comedies, 
for instance — it stands before us for the most part 
in the light thrown upon it from above. The old 
Jewish literature, it is true, has preserved along with 
its superabundance of learned dogma much that 
belongs to the people — the Rabbinic texts are a mine 
of information to the folklorist — yet it may be said of 
the Graeco-Roman literature of the Imperial age that 
it is on the whole the reflection of the dominant 
class, possessed of power and culture ; and this upper 
class has been almost always taken as identical with 
the whole ancient world of the Imperial age. Com- 
pared with Primitive Christianity, advancing like the 
under-current of a lava stream with irresistible force 
from its source in the East, this upper stratum 
appears cold, exhausted, hfeless. SenUity, the feature 
common to upper classes everywhere, was held to be 
the characteristic of the whole age which witnessed 
the new departure in religion, and thus we have the 
origin of the gloomy picture that people are still fond 
of drawing as soon as they attempt to sketch for us 
the background of Christianity in its early days. 

This fatal generaUsation involves of course a great 
mistake. The upper class has been simply confiised 
with the whole body of society, or, to employ another 
expression. Primitive Christianity has been compared 
with an incommensurable quantity. By its social 


structure Primitive Christianity points unequivocally 
to the lower and middle class.^ Its connexions with 
the upper class are very scanty at the outset. Jesus 
of Nazareth was a carpenter, Paul of Tarsus a weaver 
of tent-cloth, and St. Paul's words ^ about the origin 
of his churches in the lower classes of the great towns 
form one of the most important testimonies, histori- 
cally speaking, that Primitive Christianity gives of 
itself. Primitive Christianity is another instance of 
the truth taught us with each return of springtime, 
that the sap rises upward from below. Primitive 
Christianity stood to the upper class in natural 
opposition, not so much because it was Christianity, 
but because it was a movement of the lower classes. 
The only comparison possible, therefore, is that 
between the Christians and the corresponding class 
among the pagans. 

Until recently the men of this class were almost 
entirely lost to the historian. Now, however, thanks 
to the discovery of their own authentic records, they 
have suddenly risen again from the rubbish mounds 
of the ancient cities, httle market towns, and villages. 
They plead so insistently to be heard that there is 

' This sentence, of which the whole of this book is an illustration, forms the 
subject of an address by me at the nineteenth Evangelical and Social Congress, 
held at Dessau, on " Primitive Christianity and the Lower Classes," printed 
together with the lively discussion that followed in the Proceedings of the 
Congress, Gottingen, 1908 ; and in a second (separate) edition, Gottingen, 
1908. An English translation appeared in The IJxpositor, February, March, 
and April 1909. — ^I am weU aware that it is difficult in many cases to prove 
the division into classes, the boundaries between the " upper class " and the 
" lower " classes being often shifting. The speakers in the discussion at Dessau 
had much to say of importance on this head, and several reviewers of this 
book have discussed the point. I would refer particularly to Paul Wendland's 
review in the Deutsche Literaturzeituiig 29 (1908) col. 3146 f. The problem of 
class-division has deeply engaged my attention. 

^ 1 Cor. i. 26-31. With this compare the humble inscription from the 
synagogue at Corinth (Figure 1, p. U below), perhaps the very synagogue in 
which St. Paul first preached at Corinth. 


nothing for it but to yield them calm and dis- 
passionate audience. The chief and most general 
value of the non-literary written memorials of the 
Roman Empire, I think, is this : They help us to 
correct the picture of the ancient world which we 
have formed by viewing it, hitherto, exclusively from 
above. They place us in the midst of that class in 
which we have to think of the apostle Paul and the 
early Christians gathering recruits. This statement, 
however, must not be pressed. Of course among the 
inscriptions and papyri of that time there are many 
that do not come from the lower class but owe their 
origin to Caesars, generals, statesmen, municipaUties, 
and rich people.^ But side by side with these texts 
lies evidence of the middle and lower classes, in 
countless depositions made by themselves, and in 
most cases recognisable at once as such by their 
contents or the peculiarity of their language. These 
are records of the people's speech, records of the 
insignificant affairs of insignificant persons. Peasants 
and artisans, soldiers and slaves and mothers speak 
to us of their cares and labours. The unknown and 
the forgotten, for whom there was no room in the 
pages of the annals, troop into the lofty halls of our 
museums, and in the libraries, folio on folio, are 
ranged the precious editions of the new texts. 

In several ways these texts yield a respectable 
harvest to the student of the New Testament. I am 
not thinking now of the additions to our store of 
New Testament and other early Christian MSS. by 
the discovery of early Christian papyrus fragments, 
although in this direct way the value of the new 

' Even these, however, especially the municipal documents of the Imperial 
period, are, at least linguistically, representative not of the higher but of an 
average culture. 


documents is considerable. 1 am thinking rather of 
the indirect value which the non-Christian, non- 
literary texts possess for the student of Primitive 
Christianity. This is of three kinds : 

(1) They teach us to put a right estimate philo- 
hgically upon the New Testament and, with it. 
Primitive Christianity. 

(2) They point to the right literary appreciation of 
the New Testament. 

(3) They give us important information on points 
in the history of religion and culture, helping us to 
understand both the contact and the contrast between 
Primitive Christianity and the ancient world. 

For the purposes of this work I have tacitly ex- 
cluded one group of memorials., I shall in the 
main deal only with Greek and Latin texts and 
neglect those in other languages. I could not claim 
to speak as a specialist with regard to all of them, 
and moreover the sheer bulk of the Greek and 
Latin texts makes it necessary to fix bounds some- 
where. I desire, however, to call special attention 
to at least one group, of the utmost importance 
particularly in the history of religion. The Semitic 
inscriptions, found in such numbers in the province 
of Syria and the border-lands to the East and North, 
■enable us to reconstruct at least fragments of almost 
unknown heathen cults that were practised in the 
original home of Christianity.^ 

2. It will be our business to discuss the new texts 
in the light of linguistic, literary, and religious 
history; but before we address ourselves to this 

' A most promising beginning in turning the inscriptions and sculpture to 
account in the history of religion has been made by Ken6 Dussaud, Notes de 
Mythologie Syrierme, Paris, 1903 and 1905. Of. Count WoU Baudissin, Theol. 
Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) ool. 294 ff. 


triple task it is necessary that the texts themselves 
should be briefly described.^ 

We divide them according to the material on 
which they are written into three main groups. 
This method of division is mechanical, but is 
recommended by the simple fact that the texts are 
generally published in separate editions according 
to the material they are written on. We shall 
speak in turn of: 

(a) Inscriptions on stone, metal, etc., 

{h) Texts on papyrus, 

(c) Texts on potsherds. 

(a) The bulk of the Inscriptions ^ are on stone, 
but to these must be added inscriptions cast and 
engraved in bronze or scratched on tablets of lead 
or gold, a few wax tablets, the scribblings (graffiti) 
found on walls, and the texts on coins and medals. 
These inscriptions, of which there are hundreds of 
thousands, are discovered on the site of the ancient 
civihsed settlements of the Graeco-Roman world, in 
its fullest extent from the Rhine to the upper course 
of the Nile, and from the Euphrates to Britain. 
Inscriptions have been noted and studied since the 
days of the Renaissance,^ and in the eighteenth 
century there was one scholar, Johann Walch,* who 

' Of course no attempt is made here at exhaustiveness of statement. 

^ To the layman needing a first introduction to Greek epigraphy, Walther 
Janell, Ausgewahlte Inschriften grieokUch und deutsch, Berlin, 1906, may be 
recommended. It is only to be regretted that the translations often modernise 
the originals fax more than is necessary. 

' For the early history of Greek epigraphy see S. Chabert, Eevue Archfio- 
logique, quatr. s^rie, t. 5 (1905) p. 274 fE. 

' Joh. Ernst Imm. Walch, Observationes in Matthaewm, ex graeds in- 
seriptionibus, Jena, 1779. This book is undoubtedly one of the best examples 
of the many valuable " Observations " which that age produced, and from 
which almost the whole of the philological matter in our New Testament 
commentaries and lexicons is derived. 


pressed Greek inscriptions into the serviqe of New 
Testament exegesis. But the nineteenth century is 
the first that really deserves to be called the age of 

Two names stand forth before all others as 
personifying epigraphical studies : August Bockh 
will always be associated with the Corpus Inscripti- 
onum Graecarum, and Theodor Mommsen with the 
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. The great col- 
lection of Greek inscriptions has long ceased to be 
up to date, and is gradually being replaced by newer 
pubUcations,^ but it was this first great attempt to 
collect all the material that alone enabled Greek 
epigraphy to develop so briUiantly as it has done. 
Great societies as weU as independent archaeologists 
have added to the total number of inscriptions 
known by carrying on systematic excavations, tjrpical 
examples being the work of the Germans at Olympia 
and of the French at Delphi. New Testament 
scholars wiU follow with interested eyes the dis- 
coveries made in recent years by the English and 
Austrians on the site of ancient Ephesus,^ by British 

' The first new Corpus was the Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarwm. The 
volumes have been numbered on a uniform plan so as to fit in with later 
Corpora of Greek inscriptions in Europe still in course of publication ^(U. von 
Wilamowitz-MoellendorfE in the Sitzungsberiohte der Kgl. Preuss. Akademie 
der Wissenschaften, 25 June 1903). The comprehensive title of the new 
Corpora is Insoriptiones Graeeae editae consilio at auctoritate Academiae 
Eegiae Borussioae (abbreviated I. G.). An admirable guide to these publica- 
tions is Baron F. Hiller von Gaertringen, Stand der griechischen Inschriften- 
eorpora, Beitrage zur Alten Geschichte [Klio] 4 (1904) p. 252 fE. 

^ J. T. Wood, Discoveries at Ephesus, London, 1877 ; The Collection of 
Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, edited by Sir C. T. 
Newton : Part III. Priene, lasos and Ephesos, by E. L. Hicks, Oxford, 1890. 
The provisional reports of the Austrians in the Beiblatt der Jahreshefte des 
Osterreichischen Archaeologischen Institutes in Wien, 1898 ffi., are now being 
brought together and supplemented in the monumental Forschwngen in EpTmsos 
verSffentlieht vom Osterreichischen Archaeologischen Institute, the first volume 
of which appeared at Vienna, 1906, with prominent contributiona from Otto 
Benndorf, and under his auspices. 


investigators in Asia Minor in general,^ by the 
Germans at Pergamum,^ Magnesia on the Maeander,' 
Priene,* Miletus/ and other places in Asia Minor/ in 

' I will only mention here, since it appeals particularly to theological 
students, the great work done by Sir William M. Eamsay and his pupils, the 
latest presentation of which will be found in a book entitled Studies in the 
History and Art of the Eastern Provinces of the Moman Empire, Aberdeen, 
1906, published in celebration of the Quatercentenary of the University of 
Aberdeen, and valuable as a contribution to early Church History. 

' Konigliche Museen zu Berlin, AUertilmer von Pergamon herausgegeben im 
Auftrage des Koniglich Preussisoheu Ministers der geistlicheu, tJnterrichts- 
und Medicinal-Angelegenheiten, Vol. VIII. : Die Insohriften von Pergamion 
unter Mitwirkung von Ernst Fabricius und Carl Sohuchhardt herausgegeben 
von Max Frankel, 1. Bis zvm, Ende der Konigszeit, Berlin, 1890 ; 2. Momische 
Zeit. — Insohriften avf Than, Berlin, 1895. — Beoent finds are generally pub- 
lished in the Mitteilungen des K^aiserlich Deutschen Archaeologischen 
Instituts, Athenisohe Abteilung (Athenisohe Mitteilungen). Besides the great 
Grerman work on Pergamum there has appeared : Perga/me, Restav/ration et 
Description des Monuments de VAcropole. Eestauration par Emmanuel 
Pontremoli. Texte par Maxime CoUignon, Paris, 1900. 

' Konigliche Museen zu Berlin, Die Insclwiften von Magnesia am Maeander 
herausgegeben von Otto Kern, Berlin, 1890. 

* Konigliche Museen zu Berlin, Priene Ergebrdsse der Ausgrahvmgen imd 
Untersuchvngen in den Jahren 1895-1898 von Theodor Wiegand und Hans 
Schrader unter Mitwirkung von G. Kummer, W. Wilberg, H. Winnefeld, 
E. Zahn, Berlin, 1904. — Insohriften von Priene unter Mitwirkung von 
C. Fredrich, H. von Prott, H. Schrader, Th. Wiegand und H. Winnefeld 
herausgegeben von F. Frhr. Hiller von Gaertringen, Berlin, 1906. 

' Of the great work on Miletus two instalments have so far appeared (^Milet 
ErgeTmisse der Auigraiungen und XIntersuolmmgen seit dem Jdhre 1899, Heft 1, 
Karte der Milesisohen Salhinsel, 1 : 50,000, mit erlauterndem Text von Paul 
Wilski, Berlin, 1906. Heft 2, Das Hathaus von Milet von Hubert Knackfuss 
mit Beitragen von Carl Fredrich, Theodor Wiegand, Hermann Winnefeld, 
Berlin, 1908). Of. also the provisional reports by E. Kekule von Stradonitz (I.) 
and Theodor Wiegand (II.- V.) in the Sitzungsberichte der Kgl. Preussischen 
Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, 1900, 1901, 1904, 1905, 1906, and by 
Theodor Wiegand in the Archaologischer Anzeiger, 1901, 1902, 1904, and 1906. 
Eeport No. VI. (on Miletus and Didyma) by Wiegand appeared at Berlin in 
1908, in the appendix to the Abhaudlungen der Kgl. Preussischen Akademie 
der Wissenschaften vom Jahre 1908. 

* I would mention specially : Karl Buresoh, Av,s Lydien epigraphisch- 
geographisohe Meisefriiohte herausg. von Otto Eibbeck, Leipzig, 1898 ; 
AUertilmer von Hierapolis herausgegeben von Carl Humann, Conrad 
Cichorius, Walther Jndeich, Franz Winter, Berlin, 1898 (Jahrbuch des Kais. 
Deutschen Arohaologischen Instituts IV. Erg^nzungshef t) ; the inscriptions, 
pp. 67-180, are dealt with by Walther Judeich. Other epigraphioal material 
in plenty will be found in the serial publications in the Athenisohen Mittei- 
lungen and the various special journals. 


Thera,^ Cos,^ and other islands, and in Syria and 
Arabia/ by the French at Didyma^ and in Delos,* 
by the Americans in Asia Minor* and at Corinth.^ 

' Cf. the great work on Thera by Baron F. HlUer von Gaertringen, Berlin, 
1899 ff., and the same scholar's edition of the inscriptions from Thera in I.G. 
Vol. Xn. fasc. III., Berlin, 1898. 

' Eudolf Herzog, Koische Forichungen, und Fimde, Leipzig, 1899. The 
foundation was laid by W. R. Paton and E. L. Hicks, The Inscriptions of Cos, 
Oxford, 1891. 

' Karl Humann and Otto Puohstein, Reisen in Kleinasien und Nordsyrien 
. . . (text with atlas), Berlin, 1890; Rudolf Ernst Brunnow and Alfred von 
Domaszewski, Die Prom/iida Arabia . . ., 3 vols., Strassbnrg, 1904, 1905, 

' E. Pontremoli and B. Haussoullier, Didymes Fouilles de 1895 et 1896, Paris, 
1904. For the inscriptions see the provisional publications in the Bulletin de 
Correspondance Hellfinique. The first account of the new German excavations 
was given by Theodor Wiegand in his Vlth provisional Report, see above, 
p. 12, n. 6. 

' Cf. chiefly the provisional publications in the Bulletin de Correspondance 
Hellteique. The inscriptions of Delos (with those of Mycouos and Rheneia) 
wlQ be published by the Paris Academy as Vol. XI. of the Berlin Inseriptiones 
Graecae (and those of Delphi as Vol. VIII.). Two important inscriptions from 
the island-cemetery of the Delians, which throw light on the history of the 
Septnagint and the Jewish Diaspora, are discussed in my essay on " Die 
Rachegebete von Rheneia," Fhilologus 61 (1902) pp. 253-265, reprinted as an 
appendix (No. I.) to the present work. 

° Cf. especially Vols. 2 and 3 of the Papers of the American School of 
Classical Studies at Athens, Boston, 1888, with reports of two epigraphical 
expeditions in Asia Minor by J. B. Sitlington Sterrett. 

' Cf. provisionally the inscriptions published by B. Powell in the American 
Journal of Archaeology, 2nd series. Vol. 7 (1903) No. 1 ; also Erich Wilisch, 
Zehn Jahre amerikanischer Ausgrabnng in Eorintb, Neue Jahrbiicher fiir das 
klassische Altertum, etc. 11 (1908) Bd. 21, Heft 6. Among the inscriptions 
there is one (No. 40), no doubt the remains of an inscription for a door, which 
is of interest in connexion with Acts xviii. 4 : £o-uco]7(ii7^ 'E)Sp[oiw>'], " Syna- 
gogue of the Hebrews." I reproduce it here from a rubbing taken by me at 
the Corinth Museum, 12 May 1906 (Figure 1). The inscription is 18| inches 
long ; the letters are from 2J to 3| inches high. The writing reminds one 
somewhat of the Jewish, inscription in the theatre at Miletus, published in 
Appendix IV. of the present work. Baron Hiller von Ga,ertringen very kindly 
gave me his opinion (in letters dated Berlin, 14 January and 26 February, 
1907) that the mason copiedexactly the written characters that were set before 
him ; as extreme limits within which the inscription must have been made the 
dates 100 B.C. and 200 A.D. might, with some reservation, be assumed. — It is 
therefore a possibility seriously to be reckoned with that we have here the 
inscription to the door of the Corinthian synagogue mentioned in Acts xviii. 4, 
in which St. Paul first preached I The miserable appearance of the inscription, 
which is without ornament of any kind, is typical of the social position of the 



There are moreover plenty of native Greek archae- 
ologists whose excellent work vies with that of their 
foreign visitors. 

We await with most lively expectations the Greek 
volumes of the new Corpus of the inscriptions of 
Asia Minor, Tituli Asiae Minoris, now preparing 
at Vienna after important preliminary expeditions 
by the Austrian archaeologists^ in search of new 
material. A large portion of the background of 
St. Paul's missions and the life of the primitive 
Christian churches wiU here be made accessible to us. 
Biblical philologists are provided with a mine of in- 
formation in Wilhelm Dittenberger's splendid Orientis 
Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae,^ a comprehensive work 
distinguished by the accuracy of its texts and the 

people whom St. Paul had before him in that synagogue, many of whom 
certainly were included among the Corinthian Christians that he afterwards 
described in 1 Cor. i. 26-31. — The Corinthian inscription bears also on the 
interpretation of the expression crvraywyij kl^pioiv which is found in an 
inscription at Rome (Schiirer, GesoJiichte des jiidisohen Volkes III." p. 46 ; 
Schiele, The American Journal of Theology, 1905, p. 290 ff.). I do not think 
that 'EjSpatoi means Hebrew-speaking Jews. — Further reports of the American 
excavations at Corinth are given in the American Journal of Archaeology, 
2nd Series, Vol. 8 (1904) p. 433 fE., 9 (1905) p. 44 fE., 10 (1906) p. 17 fE. 

Fig. 1.— Door Inscription feom Stnagogith at Corinth, Imperial 
Period. Now in Corinth Museum 

' Jteisen im sildwestUchen Kleinasien, Vol. I. Beisen in Lykien vmd Karien 
. . . von Otto Benndorf und George Niemann, Wien, 1884; Vol. II. Seuen 
in, lA/Men Milyas wnd Kibyratis . . . von Eugen Petersen und Felix von 
Luschan, Wien, 1889 ; Opramoas Itisohriften, vom Seroon xu Rhodiapolis . . . 
neu bearbeitet von Rudolf Heberdey, Wien, 1897 ; Stddte Pamphylient vmd 
Piiidiens unter Mitwirkung von G. Niemann und B. Petersen herausgegeben 
von Karl Grafen Lanckoronski, Vol. I. Pamphylien, Wien, 1890 ; Vol. II. 
Pisidien, Wien, 1892. 

2 2 vols., Leipzig, 1903 and 1905. 


soundness of its commentary. Works like this and 
the same author's Sylloge Inscriptiomtm Graec- 
arum,^ and the collections of E. L. Hicks/ E. S. 
Roberts [and E. A. Gardner],^ Charles Michel,* 
R. Cagnat,^ and others, are admirably adapted for 
use by theologians as introductions to the special 
studies of the masters of Greek epigraphy.* 

I have already mentioned the study of St. Matthew 
by Walch, who, so far as I know, was the first to 
employ Greek inscriptions in the elucidation of the 
New Testament. Since then^ his followers in this 
path have been chiefly British* scholars, e.g. Bishop 
Lightfoot and Edwin Hatch in many of their 
writings ; E. L. Hicks,^ who has been already men- 
tioned as one of the editors of the inscriptions of 
Cos and of the British Museum inscriptions ; and 
most particularly Sir William Ramsay — who has him- 
self done great things for the epigraphy of Asia Minor 
— ^in a long series of well-known works. In Germany 
in recent years E. Schiirer is pre-eminent as having, 

• 3 vols., 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1898-1901. 

' A Manual of Greek Sistorioal Inscriptions, Oxford, 1882. New and 
revised edition by E. L. Hicks and G. F. HiU, Oxford, 1901. 

" An Introduction to GreeTt Epigraphy, Cambridge, 1887 and 1905. 

' Secudl d' Inscriptions Oreogues, Bruxelles, 1900. 

' Znscriptiones Oraecae ad res Momanas pertinences, Paris, 1901 S, 

° Indispensable is Wilhelm Larfeld's Handhueh der grieohisohen EpigrapMh, 
planned on a great scale : Vol. I., Einleitungs- und Hilfsdisziplinen. Die nicht- 
attischen Inschriften, Leipzig, 1907 ; Vol. II., Die attischen Inschriften, Leip- 
zig, 1902. His sketch of Greek epigraphy in Iwau von Miiller's Handhueh der 
MasiischenAltertums- Wissenschaft, P,Mllnohen, 1892, must also not be neglected. 

' A complete bibliography is not aimed at. 

' Bichard Adelbert Lipsius, the son who edited Karl Heinrich Adelbert 
Lipsins' Grammatische UntersuoTmngen iiber die Hhlisohe Gfrdeitdt, Leipzig, 
1863, tells us (Preface, p. viii) that his father contemplated a large Grammar 
of the Greek Bible, in which he would have availed himself of the discoveries 
of modem epigraphy. He has in fact done so to some extent in the " Unter- 

' "On some Political Terms employed in the New Testament," The Classical 
Beview, Vol. I. (1887) pp. iS., 43 S. I first heard of these excellent articles 
through Sir W. M. Eamsay in 1898. 


in his great classical work on the history of the Jewish 
people and elsewhere, made the happiest and most 
profitable use of the inscriptions, while their import- 
ance has not escaped the learning of Theodor Zahn, 
Georg Heinrici,^ Adolf Harnack, and others. Paul 
Wilhelm Schmiedel, in his excellent adaptation of 
Winer's Grammar,^ has drawn most freely on the 
inscriptions in dealing with the accidence. They 
have been turned to account for the philology of the 
Septuagint by Heinrich Anz,' but most particularly 
by the author of the first Septuagint Grammar, 
Robert Helbing * ; also by Jean Psichari * and Richard 
Meister.^ Heinrich Reinhold,^ following Anz, com- 
pared the inscriptions with the Greek of the Apostohc 
Fathers and the New Testament Apocrypha. In 
my " Bible Studies " * an attempt was made to show 
what they will yield for the purposes of early Christian 
lexicography, and the like has been done by H. A. A. 

' In his studies on the organisation of the Corinthian churches the 
inscriptions were made use of. 

2 Gottingen, 1894 fE. ; of. Theol. Eundsohau, 1 (1897-98) p. 465 ff. 

' Subsidia ad cognoscendum Graeoorum sermonem vulgarem e Pentateuohi 
versione Alexandrina repetita, Dissertationes Philologicae Halenses VoL 12, 
Halis Sax., 1894, pp. 259-387 ; cf. Theol. Rundschau, 1 (1897-8) p. 468 fE. 

* Grammatik der Septuaginta, Laut- und Wortlehre, Gottingen, 1907. Of. 
the important corrections by Jacob Wackernagel, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 33 (1908) 
col. 635 fi. [The first instalment of A €ham,ma/r of the Old Tegtament in ffreek 
aceor&mg to the 8e;ptuagvnt, by H. St. J. Thackeray, appeared at Cambridge, 
1909. Te.] 

' Eiscd sv/r le Oreo de la Septcmte. Extrait de la Eevue des ifetudes juives, 
Aviil 1908, Paris, 1908. 

° ProlegoTnena zu einer Grammatik der Septuagirtta, Wiener Studien 29 
(1907) 228-59. 

' De graeoitate Patrum Apostolicorum librorumque apocryphorum Novi 
Testament! quaestiones grammaticae, Diss. Phil. Hal. Vol. 14, Para 1, Halis 
Sax. 1898, pp. 1-115; cf. Wochensohrift fiir klassische Philologie, 1902, 
col. 89 ff. 

' Bihelstudien : Beitrage, zumeist aus den Papyri und Inschriften, zur 
Geschichte der Sprache, des Schrifttums und der Beligion des heUenistischen 
Judentums und des Urchristentums, Marburg, 1896. English translation 
(together with the "Neue Bibelstudien ") by A. Grieve, under the title 
" Bible Studies," Edinburgh, 1901 ; 2nd ed. 1903. 


Kennedy.^ In "New Bible Studies"^ I examined 
particularly the inscriptions of Pergamon and part 
of the inscriptions from the islands of the Aegean, 
while Gottfried Thieme' worked at the inscriptions 
of Magnesia on the Maeander. Epigraphy yields a 
rich harvest in Theodor Nageli's study of the language 
of St. Paul,* in the Grammar of New Testament 
Greek by Friedrich Blass,^ and stiU richer in that 
by James Hope Moulton/ New Testament lexico- 
graphers have made but occasional use of the in- 
scriptions, and Hermann Cremer, when he does so, 
is at times absolutely misleading in consequence of 
his peculiar dogmatic attitude on the subject. The 
additions which were made, chiefly by Adolf Schlatter, 
to Cremer's last edition of his Biblico- Theological 
Leocicon of New Testament Greek'' afford illus- 
trations, in some important points, of the knowledge 
which the lexicographer in particular may gain from 
the inscriptions. Honourable mention is due to 

' Sources of New Testament GhreeU, Bdinbnrgh, 1895 ; of. Gott. gel. Anzeigen, 
1896, p. 761 fE. 

''■ Neue Bibelstudien : spraohgeschiohtliche Beitrage, zumeist aus den Papyri 
uud Inschriften, zur Brklarung des N. T., Marburg, 1897. 

' Die Insohriften von Magnesia am Mdander und das Neue Testament : 
eine sprachgesobichtliche Studie [Dissert. Heidelberg, 1905], Gottingen, 1906 ; 
cf . Tbeol. Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) col. 231. 

* Der Wortsohatz des Apotteli Paului : Beitrag zur sprachgesohichtliohen 
Brforsobung des N. T., Gottingen, 1905; of. TheoL Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) 
col. 228 ff. 

* Grammatib des Neutestamentliohen Grieohisch, Gottingen, 1896, 2nd ed. 
1902 ; cf. Gottingisobe gelehrte Anzeigen, 1898, p. 120 ff., and Berl. Pbilol. 
Wochenschrift 24 (1904) ool. 212 ff. [Blass's Grammar was translated into 
English by H. St. J. Thackeray, London, 1898, 2nd ed. 1905. Tb.] 

" Grammar of New TestOToent Greek, Edinburgh, 1906, 2nd ed. the same 
year, 3rd ed. 1908; cf. Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) ool. 238 f., 32 (1907) col. 38 f. 
Moulton's inaugural lecture in the University of Manchester, "The Science 
of Language and the Study of the New Testament," Manchester, 1906, also 
deserves notice, 

' SihUseli-theologisches WorterbttoA der Neutestamentliohen Grddtdt, 9th 
ed., Gotha, 1902, p. 1119 f. [The English translation of Cremer is now in its 
4th ed. Tb.] 



Hans Lietzmann and Johannes Weiss for the atten- 
tion they have bestowed on the inscriptions, Lietz- 
mann in his Commentaries on Romans and First 
Corinthians ^ (excellent on the philological side), and 
Weiss in his substantial articles in Herzog and 
Hauck's Bealencyclopddie.^ Copious use of new 
material has also been made by George Milligan in 
his Commentary on the Epistles to the Thessalonians,' 
and by WiUiam H, P. Hatch.* 

We are further indebted for most valuable en- 
lightenment to the philologists pure and simple who 
have extracted grammatical and lexical material from 
the inscriptions, or have compiled from the new texts 
complete grammars of the universal Greek current 
from the death of Alexander onwards into the 
Imperial age. Such are the special investigations 
of K. Meisterhans,^ Eduard Schweizer,^ Wilhelm 
Schulze,'^ Ernst Nachmanson,* Jacob Wackernagel,' 

1 Sandi. mm W. T. (IIT.), Tubingen, 1906 f . 

2 RealencyolopSdie fiir protestantisehe Theologie und Kirohe, ^rd ed. ; see 
especially the excellent article on " Kleinasien." 

' London, 1908. 

' Some Illustrations of New Testament Usage from Greek Inscriptions 
of Asia Minor, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 27, Part 2, 1908, 
pp. 134-46. Of special importance is the discovery of iy&wri, "love," in a 
pagan inscription of the Imperial period from Tefeny in Pisidia (Papers of 
the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2, 57). If the word 
dyi[ir7i']v is here rightly restored, we now have a proof of the profane origin 
of the word, which I have long suspected (iV««e BibelstuMen, p. 27 ; Bible 
Studies, p. 199). 

• Qrammatik der attischen Imehriften, dritte verm, und verb. Aufl. von 
Eduard Sohwyzer, Berlin, 1900. 

' Qrammatik der pergamenUchen JnsehHften, Berlin, 1898 ; and (published 
under the name of Sohwyzer, which he assumed) Die Vulgarsprache der 
attischen Fluchtafeln, Keue JahrbUcher fiir das klass. Altertum, 6 (1900) 
p. 244 fE. 

' €haeca Latina, Gottingen (Einladung zur akadem. Preisverkiindigung), 

' La/ute und Formen der magnetischen Insohriften, Uppsala, 1903. 

» Helleniitica, Gottingen (Einladung zur akadenx Preisverkiindigung), 


and in a special degree the great works of G. N. 
Hatzidakis,^ Karl Dieterich,^ and Albert Thumb,' 
which are full of references to usages in the language 
of the Greek Old and New Testaments. 

Of the Christian inscriptions* and their direct 
value to the scientific study of early Christianity 
I have not to speak ; but I wish at least to say 
that in one direction they promise a greater harvest 
than many people might expect, viz. with respect to 
the history of the text of Scripture and its use. 
Already with the materials at present known to us 
quite a large work could be written on the text 
of Scripture as illustrated by Biblical quotations in 
ancient Christian (and Jewish) inscriptions.^ It is 
to be hoped that the Corpus of Greek Christian 
inscriptions now planned in France wiU not only 

' Binleitung in die newgrieoMsche Granvmatik (Bibliotliek indogerm. Giam- 
matiken, V.), Leipzig, 1892. 

' Untemtohwngen iw QeseTiAeMe der grieohisehen Sprache von der hellenis- 
tischen Zeii bis 2um 10. Jahrhimdert n. Ch/r. (Byzantinisches Archiv, Heft 1), 
Leipzig, 1898. 

' Die grieeMsoJie Sprache im Zeitalter deg Hellenismug, Strassburg, 1901 ; cf. 
Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 26 (1901) col. 684 fE. 

* The most distinguished workers on this subject in recent years are Sir 
William M. Eamsay, Franz Cumont, Gnstave Lefebvre, etc. 

' Single points have been treated by E. Bohl, Tkeol. Stud, wad KrUihen, 
1881, pp. 692-713, and B. Nestle, iUd., 1881, p. 692, and 1883, p. 153 f. ; by 
myself, Ein epigraphisches Denkmal des alexandrinischen A. T. (Die Bleitafel 
von Hadmmetnm), SiieUtiidien, p. 21 S. [Bible Studies, p. 269], Die Raehegebete 
von Bheneia (p. 13, n. 5, above), and Verkannte Bibelzitate in syrisohen und meso- 
potamisohen Insohriften, Philologus, 1905, p. 475 fi., reprinted in the Appendix 
(No. VI) to this book ; by Baron F. Hiller von Gaertringen, Uber eine jiingst 
auf Khodos gefundene Bleirolle, enthaltend den 80. Psalm, Sitzungsberiohte 
der Kgl. Preuss. Ak. def Wissensch. zu Berlin, 1898, p. 582 fi., of. U. Wilcken, 
Aiohiv fiir Papyrusforsohung, 1, p. 430 f. ; and by P. Perdrizet, Bull, de Corr. 
hell§n. 20 (1896) p. 394 fE., who comments on a marble slab from Cyprus 
inscribed with the 15th Psalm, and refers to other texts of Scripture preserved 
in inscriptions from Northern Syria, the Hauran, and Southern Russia. Cf. also 
Lndwig Blau, Das altjiidische Zauberwesen (Jahresbeiicht der Landes- 
Babbinerschule in Budapest, 1897-8), Budapest, 1898, p. 95 ; and particularly 
Bichard Wunsch, Antike Flnchtaf eln (Lietzmann's Kleine Texte fur tbeologische 
Vorlesungen und Ubungen, 20), Bonn, 1907 ; and Alfred Bahlfs, Septuaginta^ 
Studien IL, Gottingen, 1907, p. 14 ff. 


put an end to the shameful neglect ^ with which 
epigraphists have treated these memorials, but wiU 
also help towards the completion of this task. 

There is one circumstance which sometimes makes 
the inscriptions less productive than might have 
been expected, especially those that are more or less 
of the official kind. The style has often been polished 
up, and then they are formal, artificial, cold as the 
marble that bears them, and stiff as the characters 
incised upon the unyielding stone.^ As a whole the 
inscriptions are not so fresh and natural as the papyri, 
and this second group, of which we are now to 
speak, is therefore, linguistically' at any rate, the 
most important. 

(b) The Papyri. One of the most important 
writing materials used by the ancients was the 
papyrus sheet.* It takes its name from the papyrus 

' Sometimes they are not even recognised. Mg. the inscription from 
Tehfah (Taphis) in Nubia, Corpus Insariptionmii Graeearum, No. 8888, 
facsimiled at the end of the volume and considered unintelligible by the 
editor, is a fairly large fragment of the Septuagint, from Exodus xv. and 
Deuteronomy xxxii. It is all the more creditable of Adolph Wilhelm, there- 
fore, to have detected in a pagan inscription of the 2nd century A.D. from 
Euboea echoes of the Septuagint Deuteronomy xxviii. 22, 28 (E^rmepn Apxato- 
\oyiKi], 1892, col. 173 fE. ; Dittenberger, Sylloge,'' No. 891). This inscription is 
one of the oldest of the records vphich have been influenced by the Greek 
Bible. The assumption that it was composed by a proselyte is neither 
necessary nor probable ; it is more natural to assume that the composer simply 
adopted a formula of cursing which had been influenced by the Septuagint. 

^ Of. Neue BiteUtudien, p. 7 1. ; Bible Studdes, p. 179 ; Thieme, Die In- 
sekriften von Magnesia am Mdander imd das Neue Testament, p. 4 f . 

' Lexically, however, the yield of the inscriptions is undoubtedly very 

' In the following pages I have made use of my article on " Papyri " in the 
Enoyelopaedia Bibliea, III. col. 3556 fi., and the article on " Papyrus und 
Papyri " (founded on the other) in Herzog and Hauck's Sealencyelopddie fur 
Theolugie vrnd Mrche, 'XIV. p. 667 fE. Cf. also an article intended for 
theological readers by F. G. Kenyon on "Papyri" in Hastings' XHotionary of 
tJie Bible, Snppl. Vol. p. 352 fE. Other excellent works that would serve as 
introductions to papyrology are : tJlrioh Wilcken, Die grieehisoJien Papyrus- 
wkimden, Berlin, 1897 ; Der heutige Stand der Papyrusforschung, Neue 


plant {Cyperus papyrus L., Papyrus antiquorum 
Willd. ; see Fig. 2). At the present day the plant 
is found growing in the Sudan,^ in Palestine^ (Lake 
Huleh — "the waters of Merom" — and the Lake of 
Tiberias), in Sicily (especially near Syracuse), and 
also in Italy on the shores of Lake Trasimeno.^ 
It is probably cultivated in most botanical gardens, 

Jahrbb. f iir das klass. Altertum, etc., 1901, p. 677 ff. ; Ludwig Mitteis, Aus 
den, griecTiUchen Pa^yrusitrTiUJiden, Leipzig, 1900 ; Karl Schmidt (Elberfeld), 
AuB der griechiachen Papyrusforschung, Das humanist. Gymnasium, 17 (1906) 
p. 33 ff. ; O. Gradenwitz, Mnfiihrv/ng in die Papyrutkunde, I., Leipzig, 1900 
(especially for legal scholars). Bibliographies have been published by 
C. Haberlin, Paul Viereok [three great reports so far in the Jahresbericht iiber 
die Fortschritte der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, Tols. 98 (1898), 
102 (1899), 131 (1906)], Carl Wessely, Seymour de Eicci, Pierre Jouguet, etc. 
The best place to look for information is now Nicolas Hohlwein's La Papyro- 
logie Orecque : Bibliographie raisonnSe (Ouvrages publics avant le 1™ Janvier, 
1905), Louvain, 1905, a careful book enumerating no less than 819 items. 
Cf. also as brief guides Hohlwein's essays, Les Papyrus Greos d'ifegypte 
(extrait du JBibliographe moderne, 1906), Besangon, 1907, and Les Papyrus 
Grecs et I'ifegypte, Province Bomaiue (extrait de la Revue G§n6rale, Octobre 
1908), Bruxelles, 1908 ; also George Milligan, Some Keoent Papyrological Pub- 
lications, The Journal of Theological Studies, April 1908, p. 465 ff.; and J. H. 
Moulton, From Egyptian Eubbish-Heaps, The London Quarterly Review, 
April 1908, p. 212fE. The central organ for the new science of papyrology is the 
Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete, founded and edited by 
Ulrich Wiloken, Leipzig, 1900 flf., of which four volumes have already been 
completed. Cf. also the Studien zur Palaeographie und Papyruskunde, 
founded by Carl Wessely, Leipzig, 1901fE. A very attractive book written 
for a very general public is that by Adolf Erman and Fritz Krebs, Aiis den 
Papyrus der SSniglicTien Museen (one of the illustrated handbooks issued by 
the authorities of the Berlin Museums), Berlin, 1899. A papyrus-chrestomathy 
corresponding to Dittenberger's Sylloge Inscrvptionwm, Qraeearwm is being 
prepared by L. Mitteis and U. Wiloken (Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, 3, p. 338). 
Milligan is also preparing " Selections from the Papyri " for the Cambridge Press. 

' B. de Montfaucon, Dissertation sur la plante appellfie Papyrus, Mfimoires 
de I'Acad. royale des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, Vol. TL, Paris, 1729 
p. 592 fE.; Franz Woenig, Die Pflanzen im alien Agypten, ihre Heimat, 
Geschichte, Kultur, Leipzig, 1886, p. 74 fE. ; L. Borchardt, Die aegyptische 
Pflanseensaule, Berlin, 1897, p. 25. 

' K. Baedeker, Palastina und Syrien,^ Leipzig, 1904, pp. 221,223 (^=Pales- 
tine and Syria* Leipzig, 1906, pp. 254, 252). 

' J. Hoskyns-Abrahall, The Papyrus in Europe, The Academy, March 19, 
1887, No. 776 (B. Nestle, Mvnfiilwimg in das GriecMsohe N.T.,^ Gottingen, 
1899, p. 40; ['1909, p. 48; English translation. Textual Criticism of the Greek 
Testament (Theological Translation Library, Vol. XIII.), by Edie and Menzies, 
London, 1901, p. 42, n. 3. Te.]). 


e.g. at Berlin,^ Bonn-Poppelsdorf,^ Breslau,* Heidel- 
berg.* The plant may be purchased from the 
firm of J. C. Schmidt, Erfurt, who wrote to 
me ^ as follows : " Cyperus -papyrus has proved its 
suitability as a rapid-growing decorative plant for 
large sheets of water, aquariums, etc. In the open 
air it thrives here only in summer, and only in a 
warm, sheltered position. It is propagated from seed 
or from leaf-shoots ; the latter are cut down to about 
half their length and put in water." A. Wiedemann * 
gives the following description of the plant : " A 
marsh plant, growing in shallow water ; root creeping, 
nearly as thick as a man's arm, with numerous root- 
fibres running downwards ; several smooth, straight, 
triangular stalks, 10 to 18 feet high, containing a 
moist pith (whence the Hebrew name, from gama\ 
' to drink,' ' to sip up,' and the phrase bihula papyrus 
in Lucan IV- 136), and surmounted by an involucre 
with brush-like plumes." 

The use of papyrus as a writing material goes 
back to extreme antiquity. The oldest written 
papyrus known to be in existence is, according to 
Kenyon,^ an account-sheet belonging to the reign 
of the Egyptian king Assa, which is conjecturally 
dated circa 2600 b.c.^ From these remote times 
until well on in the Mohammedan occupation of 
Eg5rpt papyrus remains the standard writing material 
of that marvellous country, so that the history of 

' As I was informed by the Director, by letter, 20 October, 1902. 
' Ditto, 17 October, 1902. 
» Ditto, 21 October, ,1902. 
' Personal information from the Director. 
» 18 October, 1902. 

" Quthe, Kurzes JBibelworterbtioh, p. 501. 
' The Palaeography of Cheek Papyri, Oxford, 1899, p. 14. 
' I now follow the chronology of Bduard Meyer. [Assa was a king of the 
5th dynasty, and is often dated circa 3360 B.C. Tb.] 

Fig. 2.— The Papyrus Plant. From H. 
Guthe, KurzM B-ibelworterbucA. 

tp. 22 


its use in antiquity can be proved to extend over 
a period of about 3,500 years. Brittle and perishable 
as it appears on a superficial view, it is in reality 
as indestructible as the Pyramids and the obelisks. 
The splendid resistant qualities of the papyrus on 
which they wrote have helped not a little to make the 
ancient Egjrptians live again in the present age. 

The preparation of this material has been often 
wrongly described. It is not correct to say, as 
Gregory ^ does, that it was made from the " bast " 
of the plant. The process of manufacture was de- 
scribed for us by PUny the Elder,^ and to make his 
account still more intelligible existing papyri have 
been examined by speciaUsts. Kenyon ^ accordingly 
puts the matter thus: — The pith of the stem was 
cut into thin strips, which were laid side by side 
perpendicularly, in length and number sufficient to 
form a sheet. Upon these another layer of strips 
was laid horizontally. The two layers were then 
gummed together with some adhesive material, of 
which Nile water was one of the ingredients. The 
resulting sheet was pressed, sun-dried, and made 
smooth by polishing, after which it was ready for 

The manufacture of papyrus sheets goes on in 

' Textkritik des Neuen Testaments, I., Leipzig, 1900, p. 7. Gregory informs 
me (postcard, Leipzig-Stotteritz, 29 June, 1908) that he has been perfectly 
acquainted with the method of making papyrus for more than thirty years, 
and that the word " bast " was a mere slip of the pen. [The process is 
accurately described in C. E. Gregory's Ca/non and Teast of the New Testament 
(International Theological Library), Edinburgh, 1907, p. 301. Tb.] 

" Nat. Hist. 13, 11-13. Of. Theodor Birt, Das antike Buchwesen, Berlin, 
1882, p. 223 fE. ; Karl Dziatzko, Untersuohimgen ilber ausgewUMte Kapitel des 
amiihen Buokwesens, Leipzig, 1900, p. 49 fE. Pliny's statements have been given 
popular currency in Georg Ebers's romance KaAser Hadrian. Of. also an article 
by Ebers, on " The Writing Material of Antiquity," in the Cosmopolitan 
Magazine, New York, November 1893 (Nestle,^ p. 40; ['p. 48; Eng. trans. 
p. 42, n. 3]). 

y, p. 15. 


much the same way even at the present day. In 
the autumn of 1902 my friend Professor Adalbert 
Merx ^ met a lady in Sicily who had learnt the art 
from her father and apparently still practised it 
occasionally. It was probably the same lady that 
was referred to in the following account of 
" Modern Syracusan Papyri " in a German news- 
paper ^ : — 

" No visitor to Sicily who goes to Syracuse ever fails to take 
a walk along the shore, in the shade of a trim-kept avenue of 
pretty trees, to the Fountain of Arethusa. Here, transformed 
into a bubbling spring, the daughter of Nereus and Doris 
continues her deathless existence, and one likes to make her 
acquaintance in her watery element. But there is another 
attraction for the traveller besides the nymph, viz. the papynis 
plants growing by the spring. The papyrus flourishes not only 
here, but also in great abundance in the valley of the Anapo 
near Syracuse. At the end of the 18th [?]' century the plant 
which has done such service to learning was introduced at 
Syracuse from Alexandria and even employed industrially. In 
the course of centuries, however, it seems that the plantations 
in the Anapo valley ran waste, until at last a learned society at 
Naples requested the Italian Government to take proper steps 
for the preservation of the plant. The Government thereupon 
instituted an inquiry and commissioned the Syracuse Chamber 
of Commerce to report on the subject. From a translation of 
this report in the Papierzeitwng it appears that a citizen of 
Syracuse, Francesco Saverio Landolina, began in the 18th 
century to manufacture papyrus exactly according to the 
directions given by the Roman scientist Pliny in the 13th 
Book of his Natural History. After Landolina's death the 
brothers Politi continued the manufacture, and were followed 
by their sons, and to-day there are only two persons in Syracuse, 

' [The distinguished Orientalist (S. 1838), who died suddenly at Heidelberg, 
■while he was attending the funeral of a colleague, August 1909. Tb.] 

' Frankfurter Zeitung, 12 April, 1906, No. 101, 2nd morning edition. The 
article is signed " W. F." 

' Presumably an error for " 10th." 


viz. Madame de Haro and Professor G. Naro, descendants of 
the Politi family, who know and practise the art of making; 
papyrus. They receive annually, with the consent of th& 
Ministry for Education, 400 bundles of the plant, which they 
work up themselves, without assistance. They use for their 
work a wooden mallet made according to Pliny's directions. 
The product is by no means so fine, close-grained, and white 
as the ancient papyri. The 200 sheets produced every year 
measure 9^ x 7^ inches each. Two bundles of the plant are 
required to make one of these sheets. The papyrus sheets are 
sold exclusively to tomists. Those with pictures of Syracusan 
architecture painted on them are the most popular. A German 
resident at Syracuse sticks these pictures on postcards and sells 
them to strangers. A sheet of papyrus costs from 1^ to 2 lire,. 
and those with pictures are dearer." 

It is interesting to note that a project has been 
put forward more than once lately to revive the 
manufacture of papyrus and make it a Govern- 
ment monopoly with a view to its employment 
as a material for banknotes that should defy 

The size of the single sheet of papyrus was not 
constant in ancient times, and there ought never to- 
have been any doubt of this fact. Kenyon^ has 
collected some measurements. For most non-literary 
documents (letters, accounts, receipts, etc.) a single 
sheet was sufficient ; for longer texts, especially 
literary ones, the necessary sheets were stuck together 
and made into a roU.^ Rolls have been found 
measuring as much as 20 and even 45 yards. The 
regular format for ancient works of literature was, 
the papyrus roll. There is a large fragment of a 

' Palaeography, p. 16 f. 

^ Eolls were sometimes manufactured Ijy the makers of papyrus, twenty- 
sheets being generally stuck together for the purpose. See L. Borchardt, 
Zeitschr. f. die agyptische Spraohe und Altertumskunde, 27 (1889) p. 120, and. 
U. WUoken, Hermes, 28 (1893) p. 166 f. 


papyrus roll among the Leipzig fragments of the 
Psalter.^ It was usual to write on that side of the 
sheet on which the fibres ran horizontally (recto) ; 
the other side (verso) was used only exceptionally.^ 
When a sheet of papyrus bears writing on both sides, 
in different hands, it may generally be assumed that 
the writing on the ?-ecto is the earlier of the two. 
Only in exceptional cases were the sheets of a 
papyrus roll written on both sides ; Nestle ^ refers 
to Revelation v. 1, where some authorities read "a 
book written within and without " or " on the front 
and on the back." In the later centuries of antiquity 
we find also the papyrus book or codex, which finally 
triumphs over the roll. It is not true that the 
transition from roll to book was the result of the 
introduction of parchment. To give only a few 
instances, the British Museum possesses a fragment 
of a papyrus codex of the Iliad, probably of the 3rd 
century a.d.* Among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri 
there is a leaf from a codex of the gospels, con- 
taining Matthew i. 1-9, 12, 14-20, of the 3rd 
century, besides other fragments of Biblical codices. 
The University Library at Heidelberg possesses 
twenty-seven leaves from an old codex of the 
Septuagint. And the celebrated fragment of the 
"Logia" from Oxyrhynchus also once formed part 
of a codex. 

When we consider the important part played by 

' Edited by G. Heinrici, Beitrdge zur Geuhickte imd Erklanmg des iV. T., 
IV., Leipzig, 1903. 

' U. Wiloken, Beoto oder Verso, Hermes (22) 1887, p. 4873. 

' Emfuhrungf p. 41. [The English translation, 1901, p. 43, n. 2, says the 
passage "can no longer be cited in support of this practice, seeing we 
must take koX imirSev with KaTe<rippayi<r/iii>or." In the third German edition, 
however, 1909, p. 48, n. 1, Nestle still cites the passage, merely remarking 
that the other way of construing it is perhaps more correct. Tr.] 

* Kenyon, PalaeograpJty, p. 25. 


papyrus in the life of the ancient world, it is by no 
means surprising to find it mentioned in Scripture. 
The papyrus plant is spoken of in Job viii. 11 and 
Isaiah xxxv. 7 ; in the former passage the translators 
of the Septuagint use the word papyros, and again 
in Job xl. 16 (21) and Isaiah xix. 6. The "ark of 
bulrushes" in which Moses was laid (Exodus ii. 3) 
was a small papyrus boat,^ like the " vessels of bul- 
rushes " in Isaiah xviii. 2.^ The writer of the Second 
Epistle of St. John mentions papyrus as a writing 
material, for the chartes referred to in verse 12 was 
doubtless a sheet of papyrus. So too the "books" 
that Timothy was requested to bring with him to 
St. Paul (2 Tim. iv. 13) were no doubt made of 
papyrus, for they are expressly distinguished from 
" the parchments." 

We may now turn to the recent discoveries of 
papyri and see what their value has been to scholar- 
ship in general. 

The first recorded purchase of papyri by European 
visitors to Egypt was in 1778. In that year a 
nameless dealer in antiquities bought from some 
peasants a papyrus roll of documents from the year 
191-192 A.D., and looked on while they set fire to 
fifty or so more simply to enjoy the aromatic smoke 
that was produced.^ Since that date an enormous 
quantity of inscribed papyri in all possible languages, 
of ages varying from a thousand to nearly five 
thousand years, have been recovered from the 
magic sou of the ancient seats of civilisation in 
the Nile Valley. From about 1820 to 1840 the 

' Here A.qiiila translates varvpetiv. 

' See an ancient Egyptian picture in Guthe's Kwzet Bibelwbrterbuch, 
p. 502 ; and of. S. Witkowski, Eos 14 (1908) p. 13. 

' Wiloken, Siegrieehuehen Pwpyrugwrhvmden, p. 10 ; which see also for what 


museums of Europe acquired quite a respectable 
number of papyri from Memphis and Letopolis in 
Middle Eg5rpt, and from This, Panopolis, Thebes, 
Hermonthis, Elephantine, and Syene in Upper 
Egypt. Not many scholars took any notice of them 
at first, and only a very few read and profited by 

The next decisive event, apart from isolated finds, 
was the discovery of papyri in the province of El- 
Fayum (Middle Egypt) in 1877. To the north of 
the capital, Medinet el-Fayum, lay a number of 
mounds of rubbish and debris, marking the site 
of the ancient " City of Crocodiles," afterwards called 
" The City of the Arsinoites," and these now yielded 
up hundreds and thousands of precious sheets and 
scraps. Since then there has been a rapid succession 
of big finds, which have not ceased even yet : we 
are still in a period of important discoveries. In the 
external history of the discoveries the most note- 
worthy feature is that so many of the papyri have 
been dug up with the spade from Egyptian rubbish- 
heaps.^ Antiquaries had set the example by exca- 
vating in search of the foundations of ancient temples 
or fragments of prehistoric pottery, and now the 
excavators seek papjrri. The excavations carried out 
by Drs. Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt 
rank with the most celebrated archaeological exca- 
vations of modern times both in the delicacy of their 
operations and in the value of their results. The 
fact that so many of the papyri are found among 
the dust-heaps of ancient cities is a valuable indi- 
cation of their general significance. The multitude 
of papyri from the Fayum, from Oxyrhynchus- 

' Including several that were written outside Egypt, cf. Archiv f. Papyrus- 
forschung, 2, 138. 


Behnesa, etc., do not, as was at first supposed, 
represent the remains of certain great archives. They 
have survived as part of the contents of ancient 
refuse-heaps and rubbish-shoots. There the men of 
old cast out their bundles of discarded documents, 
from offices public and private, their worn-out books 
and parts of books ; and there these things reposed, 
tranquilly abiding their undreamt-of fate. 

The papyri are almost invariably non-literary in 
character. For instance, they include legal docu- 
ments of all possible kinds : leases, bills and receipts, 
marriage-contracts, bills of divorce, wills, decrees 
issued by authority, denunciations, suings for the 
punishment of wrong-doers, minutes of judicial pro- 
ceedings, tax-papers in great numbers. Then there 
are letters and notes, schoolboys' exercise-books, 
magical texts, horoscopes, diaries, etc. As regards 
their contents these non-literary documents are as 
many-sided as life itself. Those in Greek, several 
thousand in number, cover a period of roughly a 
thousand years. The oldest go back to the early 
Ptolemaic period, i.e. the 3rd century B.C. ^ ; the 
most recent bring us well into the Byzantine period. 
AH the chequered history of Hellenised and Roman- 
ised Egypt in that thousand years passes before our 
eyes on those tattered sheets. 

The Greek documents are supplemented by large 

' Recently there has even been discovered a Greek literary papyrus of the 
4th century B.O., viz. " The Persians," by the poet Timotheus, which has been 
edited by U. von Wilamowitz-MoeUendorfE, Leipzig, 1903. According to 
F. Blass (Gotting. gel. Anzelgen, 1903, p. 655), Greufell is disposed to date 
the MS. between 330 and 280 B.C. More than this : the Frankfurter. Zeitung 
for 16 March, 1907 (No. 75, evening edition) reported that Eubensohn had found 
at Elephantine a bundle of papyri, among which was one dated with the 
regnal year of Alexander Aegus, the son of Alexander the Great. That 
would make it the oldest Greek papyrus document yet discovered. — It is 
now No. 1 in the special publication Elephantvne-Pa/pyri bearbeitet von 
O. Eubensohn, Berlin, 1907. 


numbers of others in Aramaic,^ Demotic, Coptic,^ 
Arabic/ Latin, Hebrew,* and Persian. Of the most 
ancient hieroglyphic papyri we here say nothing, but 
there should be no possibihty of disagreement as to 
the value of those we have mentioned for the scientific 
study of antiquity in the widest sense. They mean 
nothing less than the reconstitution of a large portion 
of the life hved by the ancients. They teU their 
story of the past with a freshness, warmth, and 
sincerity such as we can boast of in no ancient writer 

' Extremely important are the Aramaic Papyri discovered at Assuam, 
edited by A. H. Sayce with the assistance of A. B. Cowley and with appen- 
dices by W. Spiegelberg and Seymour de Eioci, London, 1906. They consist 
of ten large original documents written in Aramaic by Jews of Upper Egypt 
in the time of the Persian kings Xerxes, Artaxerxes, and Darius, 471 or 470 to 
411 B.C. Their eminent importance has been set forth in its linguistic, 
religious, and legal aspects by Th. Noldeke, Zeitsohr. f. Assyriologie, 20, p. 130fi.; 
Mark Lidzbarski, Deutsche Lit.-Ztg. 27 (1906) col. 3205 S. ; E. Sohurer, Theol. 
Lit.-Ztg. 32 (1907) col. 1 fE. ; U. Wilcken, Arohiv f. Papyrusforschung, 4, 
p. 228 ft ; Friedrich Schulthess, Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1907, p. 181 fE. ; 
and many others. There is a handy edition by W. Staerk in Lietzmaun's 
Xleine Teaste, Nos. 22, 23, Bonn, 1907. — To these have now been added new 
Aramaic documents from Elephantine, of. Eduard Saohau, Drei aramaische 
Papyrusurkunden aus Elephantine, aus den Abhandlungen der Kgl. Preuss. 
Akademie der Wissenschaften 1907, Berlin, 1907 ; and W. Staerk, Aramaeisohe 
Urkunden zur Geschichte des Judentums im vi. und v. Jahrhundert vor Chr. 
sprachlich und sachlich erklart, in Lietzmann's Xleine Texte, No. 32, Bonn, 
1908. At a meeting of the Berlin Academy, 26 November, 1908, Saohau 
spoke of a Jewish papyrus from Elephantine containing a long list of 

2 I merely refer to the large collections of Coptic letters and documents 
preserved at London, Vienna, Berlin, Strassburg, Heidelberg, etc. One of the 
most important of the literary papyri is the Heidelberg MS. of the Acta Pauli, 
discovered, pieced together with infinite pains and ingenuity, and then edited 
by Carl Schmidt (of Berlin), VerSffentlich'wngen aus der Seidelierger Papyrns- 
Sammlung II., Leipzig, 1904 (a volume of text and a volume of plates), with 
a supplementary volume, " Zusatze," Leipzig, 1905. 

' The Arabic papyri, especially those of the first century of Islam, have been 
simply epoch-making as regards Islamic studies. Of. C. H. Becker, Pa/pyri 
Schott-Iteinliardt I. ( VeroffentUchungen aits der Heidelberger Papyrus-Samm,' 
Ivng in.), Heidelberg, 1906, p. 1 fE., and Becker's other publications. 

' The best known is the Nash Papyrus, a copy of the Decalogue and a part 
of the Sh'ma \i.e. Deut. iv. 1] with a peculiar form of text, of the first or 
second century A.D. Cf. Norbert Peters, Bie alteste Aisohrift der teJm Oehote, 
der Papyrus Nash, vrdersucM, Freiburg i. B., 1905 ; and in connexion with 
this, C. Steuemagel, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) col. 489 f. 


and in but very few of the ancient inscriptions. The 
record handed down by the ancient authors is always, 
even in the best of cases, indirect, and has always 
been somehow or other touched up or toned down. 
The inscriptions are often cold and lifeless/ The 
papyrus sheet is far more living. We see the hand- 
writing, the irregular characters, we see men. We 
gaze into the inmost recesses of individual lives. 

Despite their unassuming simplicity the papyri are 
destined to put new blood in the veins of learning. 
Legal history in the first place, but afterwards the 
general history of culture, and notably the history of 
language will derive benefit therefrom. And here, 
paradoxical as it will seem to many, let me say that 
the non-literary papyri are of greater value to the 
historical inquirer than are the literary. We rejoice 
by aU means when ancient books, or fragments of 
them, are recovered firom the soil of Egypt, especially 
when they are lost literary treasures. But scienti- 
fically speaking the real treasure hidden in the field 
of Egypt is not so much of ancient art and Uterature 
as there hes buried, but all the ancient life, actual 
and tangible, that is waiting to be given to the world 
once more. It is regrettable, therefore, to see the 
merest scrap of an ancient book treated as if it were 
something sacred — immediately published with notes 
and facsimile, even if it be a fragment of some for- 
gotten scribbler who deserved his fate — while on the 
other hand the non-literary items are often not even 
printed in full. Yet it may well happen that a 
solitary lease of no intrinsic interest contains the 
long-looked-for link completing the chain of develop- 
ment fi-om some early Hellenistic form down to its 
representative in some dialect of modern Greek. 

' Of. p. 20, above. 


Something which an editor, with his eye bent on 
a special subject of interest to himself, perhaps 
suppressed as " unimportant," may mean a priceless 
discovery to another. 

It cannot be my task here to recite the long list 
of papyrus publications, great and small ; I refer to 
the bibliographies mentioned above. Every year, 
however, increases the number of new editions. The 
name by which a papyrus is known may refer either 
to the place where it is now preserved {e.g. Berlin 
Documents ; London, Paris, Geneva, Strassburg, 
Leipzig, Heidelberg, etc. Papyri), the person to 
whom it belongs {e.g. the Archduke Rainer's Papjnri, 
the Amherst Papyri, Reinach Papyri, etc.), or to the 
place where it was found {e.g. Oxyrhynchus Papyri, 
Tebtunis Papyri, Hibeh Papyri, etc.). From the 
scientific point of view it would certainly be best to 
name the papyri after the place where found, and 
this will always be practicable where a great number 
of papyri have been found in the same place and 
kept in one collection. At any rate, when quoting ^ 
a particular papyrus one should never omit to state 
where and when it was written. The special excel- 
lence of these texts is due in no small degree to the 
fact that so many of them are dated to the very year 
and day of the month, and that it is nearly always 
certain where they came from. At some time in 
the indefinite future a Corpus (or perhaps several 
Corpora) Papyrorum may be called for. It would be 
impossible at present to undertake such a collection, for 
the discoveries show no signs of coming to a standstill. 

' Ulrich Wilcken (Archiv fiir Papyrusforsohung, 1, pp. 25 ff., 1221, 5iit. ; 
2, pp. 117, 385 ; 3, pp. 113, 300) has introduced a uniform system of abbre- 
viations for indicating the various editions. There is a complete Ust of these 
abbreviations in Edwin Mayser, Grammatik der grieoTmohen Pa/pyri aus der 
Ptolemderzeit, Leipzig, 1906, p. viifE. 


The prevailing tendency being to overestimate the 
importance of whatever is literary, it is no wonder 
that theologians have congratulated themselves most 
of all on the recovery of parts of the Bible and early 
Christian books. We have, truly enough, every 
reason to be thankful that sources and textual 
authorities are still forthcoming from such venerably 
early periods of our faith. I have given elsewhere ' 
a Ust of the most important Greek fragments 
recovered down to 1908, including altogether about 
fifty fragments, large and small. The more recent 
publications enable us to add largely to the Ust. 
I wiU mention a few particulars.^ Since 1903 
•Grenfell and Hunt* have published a second 
fragment of "Logia," and a fragment of a new 

' In the article already mentioned which I contributed to the Realencyolo- 
^ddAe^ XIV. p. 671 f. My VeroffentUchwngen aus der Heidelherger Papyrm- 
Sammhmg I., which were there quoted while stiU in the press, at>peared in 
1905 (not 1904 as was expected). Of. also the article on ■"Papyri" by 

' Of. also Adolf Hamack, Die Chronologie der altclvristUchen Literatur Ms 
Mitebius H., Leipzig, 1904, p. 179 S., and the serial reports by Oarl Schmidt 
(pt Berlin) in the Archie fiir Fapyrusfoischnng. A creditable collection of 
the oldest literary and non-literary Christian texts on papyri was contributed 
to the Patrologia Orientalis, IV. 2, by Charles Wessely, " Les plus anciens 
monuments dn Christianisme gcrlts sur papyrus textes grecs £dit€s, traduits 
•et commentgs," Paris [1907]. Cf. also A. Bludau, Biblisohe Zeitschrif t, 4 (1906) 
p. 25 S. ; Hermann Miiller, ibid. 6 (1908) p. 25 S. ; and Caspar BenS Gregory, 
Die griechUehen, Sandachriften des Neuen Teita/menU, Leipzig, 1908, pp. 45-7. 

» The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Part IV. No. 654 ; cf. my article " Znr Text- 
Bekonstraktion der neuesten Jesusworte aus Oxyrhynchos," Supplement 
No. 162 to the Allgemeine Zeitung (Munich) IS July, 1904, translated as an 
Appendix (No. II) to the present book ; E. Preuschen, Antilegomena,' Gieszen, 
1905, pp. 23ff., 119fE. ; E. Klostermann, Apocrypha III., Bonn, 1904, p. 17 fE. ; 
J. H. A. Michelsen, Theologisch Tijdschrift, 1905, p. 160 f.— I may be allowed 
one remark concerning the first " Logia " fragment of 1897. The last clause 
("oolon ") of Logion No. 4, (rxlirov ri ^i\ey xiyi) ixel ei/u, " split the wood and 
I am there," which has been so much discussed, has a remarkable parallel 
{not yet pointed out, I believe) in the Gospel of Thomas, ch. x. The boy Jesus 
heals a wood-cutter whose axe had fallen and severely injured his foot, and dis- 
misses him with the words, ivi/rra vSr ■ a^xtfe ri f i!Xo koL luiiniivevi iu>v, " Arise 
now : split the pieces of wood and remember Me." This parallel suggests that 
the Logion is a word of consolation for those engaged in dangerous work. 



gospel,^ which was followed by yet another fragment 
of a gospel, of considerable size.^ Another fragment 
which the two distinguished explorers also consider 
to be a portion of a gospel,^ is perhaps rather to be 
looked on as part of a commentary or a sermon.* 
The Second Part of the Amherst Papyri contains a. 
large fragment of " The Shepherd of Hermas " and 
several Septuagint fragments, one of which has only 
been identified since the book appeared.* The Fourth 
Part of the OxjThjmchus Papyri gave us, besides 
the texts mentioned above, a good-sized fragment of 
the Septuagint Genesis,® and a still larger piece of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews,^ which was found written 
on the back of an Epitome of Livy. The Sixth 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Part IV. No. 655. Also published separately 
by Grenfell and Hunt with the second " Logia " fragment : New Sayings- 
of Jesus and J'ragment of a Lost Gospel, London, 1904. See also Preu- 
schen, Antileffomena,' p. 26 ; Klostennann, Apocrypha III. p. 20. Miohelsen,. 
op. cit. p. 161 ff., snooessfully restores a portion of this hitherto unidentified 

^ Cf. the announcement in the Times, May 14, 1906. Grenfell and Hunt. 
Tery kindly showed me the original at Oxford (Oct. 1906). It is a parchment 
fragment from Oxyrhynchus, now published in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Part V. 
No, 840 ; and separately, Fragment of am, TMcanonical Gospel from Oxy- 
rJi/ynohus, London, 1908. The fragment has already called forth a copious 
literature, Cf. Henry Barclay Swete, Zwei neue Mvangelienfragmente, Bonur 
1908 (Lietzmann's Kleine Teaste, No. 31), where the so-called Freer Logion is 
also printed — a supposed conclusion, hitherto unknown, of St. Mark's Gospel, 
which has also given rise to a whole literature. Besides the works of H. A. 
Sanders, A. Harnack, and C. B. Gregory, mentioned by Swete, of. among 
others Hugo Eoch, Biblische Zeitschrift 6 (1908) p. 266 ff. 

^ Catalogue general des a/ntiquitis igyptiennes Au, Musee du Cavre, Vol. X. 
(Nos. 10,001-10,869 Greek Papyri), Oxford, 1903, No. 10,735; Preusohen^ 
Antilegomena^ ^. Wi^i. 

* Cf . my article, " Das angebliche Evangelien-Fragment von Kairp," Archiv 
fiir Eeligionswissenschaft, 7 , p. 387, translated as an Appendix (No. Ill) tO' 
this book. 

5 Namely the fragment after No. 191, p. 201. It contains LXX Isaiah Iviii. 
11-14. See the Supplement to the AUgemeine Zeitung (Munich), No. 251,. 
31 October^ 1901. 

• No. 656 ; now cited as U, by the editors of the great Cambridge Septua- 
gint (Alan England Brooke and Norman McLean). 

' No. 657. 


Part also presented us with new fragments.^ There 
are other Bibhcal fragments on papyrus, some of 
them very old, of which I received information by 
letter when they were stiU unpubUshed,^ e.g. a large 
4th-century MS. of Genesis obtained by Carl Schmidt 
(of Berlin). Adolf Harnack has announced ' the 
discovery -of a fragment of Ignatius by the same 
Carl Schmidt. Several ancient Christian fragments 
in the Strassburg collection of papyri have been 
pubhshed by O. Plasberg.* Anton Swoboda thinks 
he has discovered in one of the papyri of the 
" Fayum Towns " volume some fragments of a 
Gnostic (Naassenic) psalm about Christ's descent 
into hell,^ 

Of great importance too are the Coptic frag- 
ments of Biblical, Gnostic, and other early Christian 
writings, among which I have already mentioned 
the Heidelberg "Acta Pauli."^ They are very 

> Fragments of the LXX Psalter (No. 845), LXX Amos (No. 846), St, John's 
Gospel (No. 847), Eevelation (No. 848), the Acts of Peter (No. 849), the Acts of 
John (No. 850) ; and a fragment not yet identified (No. 851). 

2 See now the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 33 (1908) col. 360. 

» Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) col. 596 f. 

* Archiv fiir Papyrusforschnng, 2, p. 217 fE. : a piece with proverbs, not yet 
identified, and probably quite new, to the interpretation of which the editor 
made excellent contributions ; a fragment of 2 Samuel xy. and xvi., Septuagint ; 
a parchment fragment of the fifth century A.D. with remains of a Greek 
translation of Genesis zxv. 19-22 and xzvi. 3, 4. This last piece, which has 
already been used in the great Cambridge Septuagint, where it is quoted as 
As, is in my opinion very important indeed. It presents a text remarkably at 
variance with the LXX but approximating to the Hebrew, and its variants are 
remarkable for the occurrence four times over of (riropd, a reading not hitherto 
recorded, instead of avipim (xxvi. 3, 4). We may conclude with great 
probability that this is a direct protest against St. Paul's celebrated insistence 
on the singular cTipua (Gal. iii. 16), and that the papyrus is therefore the 
survival of a post-Cbristian, hitherto unknown Jewish revision of the LXX or 
new translation. Graecus Venetus, a late and probably Jewish writer (ed. 0. 
Gebhardt, Lipsiae, 1875), has &Tr6pos in most of the Messianic passages of 
Genesis ; in xxvi. 3, 4 he has <nr6pos three times and airipim once. 

^ Cf. his provisional account, Wiener Studien 27 (1905) Part 2. 

' Page 30, n. 2, above. 


numerous,^ and have lately been reinforced by two 
extensive fragments of translations of the first 
Epistle of Clement, now at Berlin ^ and Strassburg,^ 
and by a beautifully preserved MS. of the Proverbs of 
Solomon.* Graeco-Sahidic fragments of the Psalms, 
of considerable extent, have been published by Carl 
Wessely ^ from the collection of papyri belonging to 
the Archduke Rainer. An entirely new field has 
been opened up by the discovery, also due to Carl 
Schmidt (Berlin), of the first fragments of Christian 
literature in the language of ancient Nubia.^ 

The non-literary papyri also contain much that is 
of direct value in the study of Biblical and Christian 
antiquities. First must be mentioned the Aramaic 
and Greek documents which from the 5th century b.c. 
untU long after the establishment of the Empire were 
vmtten by Jewish inhabitants of all parts of Egypt. 
These furnish statistics of that cosmopolitan Judaism'^ 

■ I had no intention of enumerating all the earlier publications. Badge's 
pnblication, the omission of which was noticed by J. Leipoldt (Theologisches 
liiteiatniblatt, 29, 1908, p. 561) was not unknown to me ; that of Bahlfs refers, 
I believe, to a parchment MS. 

' Karl [=Carl] Schmidt, Sitznngsberichte der Kgl. Preuss. Akademie der 
Wissenschaften (Berlin) 1907, p. 154 ff., and his edition, Der erste Clemensbrief 
in aUkoptiioher tbergetzimg (Tezte und TTntersuchungen, Dritte Beihe, 
Zweiter Band, Heft 1), Leipzig, 1908. 

' Sitznngsberichte, 1907, p. 158 f. 

* Now at Berlin, ibid. p. 155. 

' Sitznngsberichte der Blais. Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, Philo- 
sophisch-Historische Klasse, Vol. 155, first article, Wien, 1907. 

• Heinrich Sohafer und Karl [ = Carl] Schmidt, Sitzungsberiohte der Kgl. 
Prenss. Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin) 1906, p. 774 fE., and 1907, 
p. 602 £E. They are parchment fragments from Upper Egypt, biit were no 
doubt found together with papyri. It is nearly always so with Egyptian 
parchment fragments. In 1907 RustafEael obtained new writings in Nubian 
from Edfu, of. Deutsche Lit.-Ztg. 28 (1907) col. 2012. 

' The Jewish papyri mentioned in my first list (No. 14) in the Bealenoyolo- 
pSdie? have been the subject of several investigations since I wrote about them 
in the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 23 (1898) col. 602 fE. I would refer especially to E. von 
Dobachiitz, Jews and Antisemites in Ancient Alexandria, The American 
Journal of Theology, 1904, p. 728 S.. ; F. Slahelin, Der Antiaemitismin des 
AUertwns, Basel, 1905 ; Aug. Bludan, Jvden und Judenuerfolgungen vm alten, 


which was such a help to the Christian mission. 
Next come the papjni which enable us to fix the 
chronology of the Egyptian Prefect Munatius Felix, 
and thereby the chronology of an important treatise 
by Justin Martyr, or which make it possible to 
determine the site of hitherto uncertain Egyptian 
places mentioned in early Christian texts. The dis- 
coveries have presented us with a few precious original 
documents of the time of the Christian persecutions. 
We have five KheUi issued to Christian UheUatid (or, as 
U. WQcken suggested to me in a letter of 1 March, 
1902, to falsely suspected pagans^) at the time of the 
Decian persecution,^ and then there is the letter of the 
Christian presbjrter Psenosiris in the Great Oasis to 
the presbyter ApoUo on behalf of a banished Christian 
Highly remarkable is a Christian original 

Alexandria, Miinster i. W., 1906; TT. Wilcken, Znm alexandrinischen Anti- 
semitismos (Vol. XXVIL of the Abhandlnngen der PhiloL-Hist. Klasse der 
KgL Sachs. GeseUschaft der Wissenschaften, No. XXIII.), Leipzig, 1909. 

* Of. also Archiv fiir Papyrosforschnng, 3, p. 311. [LibeUi were official 
certificateB of the satisfactory performance of pagan sacrifices by the certi- 
ficate-holders. Tb.] 

' No. 1 published by F. Krebs, Sitznngsberichte der Egl. Frenss. Ak. d. 
Wiss. (Berlin) 1893, pp. 1007-1014 ; No. 2 published by K. Wessely, Anaeiger 
der Kaiserl. Ak. d. W. bu Wien, Phil.-hist. Klasse, XXXL 1894, pp. 3-9 ; for 
No. 3 cf. Seymour de Bicci, Bnlletin Fapyrologiqne, Bevne des :£:tndes 
Grecqnes, 1901, p. 203, and TJ. Wilcken, Archiv filr Papymsforsohung, 1, 
p. 174; No. 4 published by GrenfeU and Hunt, The Qxyrhynchus Papyri, 
No. 658; No. 5 published by Wessely in the Patrologia Orientalis, IV. 2, 
pp. 113-115. Cf. also 6. Milligan, The Expository Times, Vol. 20, No. 4 
(Jan. 1909). A. Bludau's article in Der Katholik, 88, 9, I know at present 
only from the Deutsche Iiit.-Ztg. 29(1908) col. 2453. — A remarkable analc^yto 
these Libelli is furnished by the certificates of confession and profession 
given to Lutherans in the 17th century, cf. Theol. Bundschau, 11 (1908) p. 430. 

' Papyrus 713 in the British Museum, edited \Tith commentary in my little 
book, ]^n Original-Bokument aus der DiocletianUchen CTirUtencerfolguitg, 
Tubingen und Leipzig, 1902; translated into English under the title The 
^nttU of Jtenoririn, London, 1902 (Cheap Edition, 1907). Cf. also 
P. Franchi de' Cavalieri, Una lettera del temjio della persecuzione Dioclezian^ 
NuoTO Bullettino di Archeologia Cristiana, 8 (1902) pp. 15-25. The late Albrecht 
Dieterich proposed, in the Getting. geL Anz. 1903, pp. 550-555, an interpretation 
of an important passage of the letter differing greatly from my own, and to 


letter ^ sent from Rome to the Fayum at some time 
during the last thirty years of the 3rd century, which 
is probably the oldest original Christian letter at 
present known. There follows a long series of 
Christian letters, from the 4th century onwards, which 
have now been published some time, but deserve, I 
think, more notice than they have yet received. 
They are manifestos from those circles of Christendom 
concerning which there are scarcely any other sources 
of information available. The extensive corre- 
spondence of Abinnaeus should be specially mentioned 
in this connexion.^ Even the legal documents of the 
Byzantine period, e.g. the church inventories, which 
are not yet all published, contain many details of 
interest. Certain points, such as the palaeographical 
history of the so-called monogram of Christ, )^, 
receive fresh illumination from the papyri.^ In an 

this I replied in a monthly periodical, Die Studierstube, 1 (1903) pp. 532-540. 
The whole problem received detailed treatment once more from August Merk, 
S.J., in the Zeitschr. fur kathol. Theologie, 29 (1905) pp. 724-737, due 
attention being given to the copious literature that had appeared in the 
interval. Of. Otto Bardenhewer, GescUichte der altii/rehlichen IMeratur, II., 
Freiburg i. B., 1903, p. 218 f., and Adolf Harnack, Die Chronologie der 
altchriitl. Lit. LL p. 180, both of whom treat of the letter as part of Christian 
"literature," which strictly speaking is not correct ; Pierre Jouguet, Eevue 
des :6tudes Anciennes, 7 (1905) p. 254 f. ; U. Wilcken, Archiv f. Papyrus- 
f orschung, 2 p. 166, 3 p. 125, 4 p. 204 f . ; F. Buecheler, Khein. Museum, New 
Series 61 (1906) p. 627; C. Wessely in the Patrologia Orientalis, IV. 2, 
pp. 125-135 ; Paul Viereck, Jahresbericht iiber die Fortschritte der klassischen 
Altertumswissenschaft, 131 (1906) p. 124 ff. Text and facsimile of the letter 
will be found in Chapter III. below (p. 201 ft.). 

' The Amherst Papyri, I. No. 3a, p. 28flE. (facsimile II. plate 25) ; cf. Adolf. 
Harnack, Sitzungsberichte der Kgl. Preuss. Ak. der Wissensch. zu Berlin, 1900, 
p. 987 fE. In Chapter III. (p. 192 fE.) I give a facsimile of the letter with an 
attempt to restore and interpret it. 

' Further particulars in my edition of the ancient Christian letter of Justinus 
to Fapnuthius, VerSffentlieli/migen aim der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlvmg I. 
pp. 94-104, and in Chapter III. (p. 205 fE.) below. 

' The theological Importance of some of the papyrus publications is pointed 
out in the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 1896, col. 609 fE. ; 1898, col. 628 fE. ; 1901, coL 69 fE. ; 
1903, col. 592 fE. ; 1906, col. 547 f. ; Supplement to the Allg. Zeitung (Munich) 
1900, No. 250, and 1901, No. 251. 


article entitled " Pagan and Christian in Egypt," ^ 
Ulrich Wilcken published a number of new things, 
two of which deserve special mention : an amulet 
with an interesting text of the Lord's Prayer,^ and 
a petition of Appion, bishop of Syene, to the 
Emperors Theodosius II. and Valentinian III,' This 
article, by the way, is a model example of the sort 
of commentary that is called for by such texts. The 
last pubhcation to be mentioned here is that by 
Lietzmann* of a curious text which still presents 
many unsolved riddles. 

It win be admitted that our knowledge of Christian 
antiquity has been very considerably enriched by these 
literary and non-literary Christian papyri from Egypt. 
Our subject, however, is chiefly concerned with the 
non-Christian texts and the great indirect value that 
they possess for Bible students. The following 
chapters will pursue that subject in detail. In these 
introductory observations, however, we may remark 
that, at a time when Greek papyri were still among 
the rare curiosities of a few museums, Heinrich 
Wilhelm Josias Thiersch realised their value for 
Septuagint philology.* Even before him Friedrich 
Wilhelm Sturz" had made use of the Charta Bor- 
giana ^ (the first papyrus ever brought to Europe, in 
1778) in studying the Alexandrian Old Testament, 

' ArcMv fiir Papyrusf orschung, 1, p. 396 S. 

' Ibid. p. 431 S. 

' Ibid. p. 398 fE. and 4, p. 172. Wilcken's placing of this petition in the 
reign of Theodosius II. and Valentinian III. is confiimed b; the praeacript 
of the letter addressed by these Emperors to John of Antioch, Migne, 
Patrologia Graeca, 65, col. 880 : there too Theodosins is placed first. 

' Papyrus Jenensis, No. 1, Zeitsohrift fiir wissenschaftliche Theologie, 50 
<New Series 15) 1907, p. 149 fE. 

' De PentatevcM versione Alexamdrina libri tres, Erlangae, 1841. 

' De Dialecto Maeedoniea et Alexandrina liber, Lipsiae, 1808. 

' Cliarta Pcupyraeea Graeoe loriptd Mviei BorgiamA Velitris . . . edita a 
Nioolao Sohow, Eomae, 1788. 


and had cited it, for instance, to explain the word 
airdrap, " without father," in Hebrews vii. 3.^ 

Of late years the papyri have been used by almost 
aU the Biblical scholars whom I named above when 
speaking of the inscriptions. Apart from the gram- 
matical studies which he afterwards incorporated in 
his "Grammar," James Hope Moulton has made 
valuable lexical contributions,^ which have lately been 
continued in collaboration with George MiUigan.* 
The papyri have been successfully appealed to in 
linguistic problems by J. de Zwaan in his article * on 
Mark xiv. 41, and in his Dutch edition of Burton's 
Syntax of New Testament Moods and Tenses,^ and 
Wilhelm Heitmiiller* did the same before him. By 
means of the papyri J. Rendel Harris ^ has advanced 
the exegesis of the New Testament Epistles, and 
H. Hauschildt ^ the history of the title " presbyteros." 
Hermann MuUer^ and Alfred Wikenhauser ^° have 
also made a beginning with such studies. Hans; 
Lietzmann made industrious use of the papyri in his 
Commentaries, already mentioned, and made the 
Greek papyri available for theological class-work by 

' Op. cit. p. 146 f. 

2 Notes from the Papyri, The Expositor, April 1901, February 1903, Decem- 
ber 1903. 

' Lexical Notes from the Papyri, The Expositor, January 1908 S. 

' The Text and Exegesis of Mark xiv. 41, and the Papyri, The BxpositoT, 
December 1905. 

' Syntaxis der Wyiten en Tijden m het 6friehsche Nieuwe Testament, Haarlem, 
1906. The inscriptions are also used here and in HeitmUUer. 

* " Im Namen Jeiu " : eine sprach- und religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung 
zum N. T., speziell zur altchristlichen Taufe, Gottingen, 1903 ; cf. Theol. Lit.- 
Ztg. 29 (1904) col. 199 £E. 

' A Study in Letter Writing, The Expositor, September 1898 ; Bpaphroditus, 
Scribe and Courier, ibid. December 1898 ; The Problem of the Address in the 
Second Epistle of John, ibid. March 1901. 

• Zeitsohrift fiir die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 4 (1903) p. 235 fE. ; of. 
Max L. Strack, ibid. p. 213 &, and before that my BiheUtudien, p. 163 f., smd 
Neve Bibelttudien, p. 60ff. [= Bible Studies, pp. 154, 233]. 

' Zum Pastor Hermae, Theologiscbe Quartalschrift, 1908, p. 89 S. 

" Tlin-aiit)<p6fnrros Apk. 12, 15 u.a., Biblische Zeitsohrift, 6 (1908) p. 171. 


publishing his httle book of texts/ Willoughby 
C, Allen did not neglect the papyri in his Commen- 
tary on St. Matthew.^ 

As a matter of course, the Greek philologists above 
mentioned in connexion with the inscriptions often 
compare the Septuagint and the New Testament with 
the evidence of the papyri whenever they happen to- 
discuss the international Greek of the Imperial and 
earlier age. The most important achievements with 
regard specially to papyrology are those of Edwin 
Mayser' and Wilhelm Cronert.* Mayser's work, 
has now found a Biblical counterpart in R. Helbing's- 
Septuagint Grammar. 

(c) The OsTRACA, constituting the third main group *" 
of texts, are closely allied to the papyri. We approach, 
with them an entirely modern science, a science which 
so far has rehed on two men only for its main support. 
One of them, Ulrich Wilcken, laid the foundations, 
with his brilliant work on Greek Ostraca from Egypt 
and Nubia * ; the other, W. E. Crum, by the pubUca- 

' 0rieeMsehe Papyri, No. 14 of the Kleine Texte fiir theologisohe Vorles- 
ungen und tjbuiigen, Bonn, 1905. ' Edinburgh, 1907. 

' Grammatik der griecMschen Papyri ans der Ptolemaerzeit mit Binschlnss 
der gleiohzeitigen Ostraka und der in Agypten verfassten luschriften ; Lant- 
nnd Wortlehre, Leipzig, 1906 (cf. Stanislaus Witkowski, Deutsche Literatur- 
Zeitung, 30 [1909] col. 347 fE.). The Syntax is to follow later. Small preUminaiy 
studies had preceded Mayser's. Other papers by Witkowski, Volker, Kuhring,. 
etc., will be found noted in Hohlwein's Bibliography and in my smmnaries ini 
the Theol. Bundschau, 1 (1897-8) p. 463 fE., 5 (1902) p. 58 fE., and 9 (1906> 
p. 210 fE. 

» Memoria Qraeca Sereulanends cum titnlorum Aegypti papyrorum 
codicum denique testimouiis comparatam proposuit Guilelmus Cronert, 
Lipsiae, 1903. 

' What is said of the inscriptions on stone, the papyri, and the ostraca,. 
applies also rrmtatis mutandis to the remaining smaller groups (wooden, 
tablets, waz tablets, etc.). 

< GrieeJi/ische Oitraka am Agypten und JVubien : ein Beitrag zur antiken. 
Wirtschaftsgeschichte, in two Books, Leipzig, 1899. Bemarks additional to- 
the same by Paul Viereok, Archiy fiir Papyrustorschung, 1, p. 450 fE. The; 
scanty previous literature is noted by Wilcken, I. p. 56 f. 


tion of his great collection of Christian ostraca,^ has 
added fresh material. Addressed primarily to Copto- 
logists, Crum's book is nevertheless of importance to 
Greek scholars and theologians. 

The question " What are ostraca ? " is easily 
•answered. They are pieces of broken pottery, on 
which something has been written. " Why were they 
so neglected in the past ? " is a more difficult ques- 
tion.^ I am reminded of a sentence in one of Pastor 
von Bodelschwingh's annual reports of a scrap-collect- 
ing organisation for the support of the Bethel 
charities near Bielefeld.^ " Nothing is absolutely 
worthless," he says, " except bits of broken earthen- 
ware and the fag-ends of cigars," and the opinion 
•seems to have been shared by the peasants of Egypt, 
.at least so far as bits of pottery were concerned. 
They rummaged among ancient ruins, and whenever 
they came across such pitiable objects as bits of 
earthenware vessels, they threw them away at once. 
Many a European with a scholar's training must have 
been quite convinced that ancient potsherds were 
valueless, even when there was writing visible on 

' Coptic OHraca from tlie Oulleatiom of tlie Egypt Exploration Fund, the 
Cavro Museimi, and others. Special extra publication of the Egypt Explora- 
tion Fund, London, 1902. For the important theological aspects of the book 
see especially the review by Brwin Preuschen, Byzantinische Zeitsohrift, 1906, 
p. 641 fE. A further publication to be considered is H. E. Hall, Coptic and 
Greek Texts of the Christian Period from Ostraed, Stelae, etc , in the British 
Museum, London, 1905. Further information in the Archiv fur Papyrusfor- 
isohung, 4, p. 247 fE. 

' In what follows I am making use of my notice of Wilcken's Ostraka in the 
Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 26 (1901) col. 65 ff. Many details will be found there which 
-axe not mentioned here. 

' Neunter Jahresbericht der Brockensammlung der Anstalt Bethel bei 
Bielefeld. [Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, J. 1831, is a kind of German 
Dr. Barnardo. He is a member of the Prussian Diet, and received in 1884 
-an honorary degree from the University of Halle and in December 1908 
another from the University of Munster in recognition of his great social 
•work. Tb.] 


them ^ ; otherwise one cannot understand why they 
were to all intents and purposes ignored by research 
for so long a time, comparatively. After all, what 
■can there be more pitiful than an earthen potsherd ? 
The prophet in his emphatic irony could think of no 
image more apt to describe man's nothingness than 
that of a potsherd among potsherds.^ 

In the time of the ancients potsherds were not 
thrown away as useless for ever. From the rubbish- 
heaps they not unfrequently made their way once 
more to the humble homes of the proletariat, there 
to be used as writing material. Few of us, however, 
reaUsed this fact until Wilcken published his book 
on the subject. Of course in our schooldays we 
had heard of the judgment of Clisthenes, but in 
such a way that most of us, if asked, would have 
said that ostracism was the Athenian statesman's 
own invention, and that he caused small tablets of 
earthenware to be made specially for the people to 
record their votes. As a matter of fact, foiir of the 
ostraca employed have been discovered at Athens,' 
and two at least of them are obviously pieces of 
broken vessels. Wilcken goes on to show most 
convincingly that the habit of writing on ostraca 
must have been in force at Athens in the sixth 
century b.c. at latest, and that the potsherd was 
highly popular as writing material throughout the 
ancient Mediterranean world. With regard to the 
Hellenistic period we know that it was so, firstly 
from the evidence of various authors, and secondly 

* As late as 1819 an architect named Gau found " an innumerable quantity " 
of inscribed ostraca at Dakkeh in Nubia. He made drawings of several, kept 
two, and threw the rest away as needless ballast I Cf , Wilcken, GriechUehe 
Ostraka, I. p. 20. 

* Isaiah xlv. 9 : " Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker ! a potsherd 
among the potsherds of the earth I " (K.V.) 

» Wilcken, Odraka, I. pp. 4 f . and 820. 


from thousands of potsherds that were written on 
then and which have been preserved, with the 
writing still upon them, in the burning, rainless 
soil of Egypt. Like the papyri, which the same 
agency has preserved to us in such numbers, the 
ostraca are a mirror of the changes of nationality 
that occurred in the Nile Valley. All sorts of 
alphabets are represented — the Hieratic and Demotic 
scripts of the old Egyptian, besides Greek, Latin, 
Aramaic, Coptic, and Arabic. 

Of all the various kinds there can be little doubt 
that the Greek are at present the most numerous. 
They range from the time of the first Ptolemies 
down to the beginnrag of the Arab occupation, i.e. 
over a period of roughly a thousand years. The 
texts with which they are inscribed are of the most 
miscellaneous kind — letters, contracts, bills, directions 
as to payments, decrees, and even extracts from 
classical authors. On the whole we may say that the 
texts met with on ostraca are the same in contents 
as those of the papyri — which we have already seen 
to be so astonishingly abundant — the only difference 
being that the ostraca on account of their size 
generally have shorter texts than the papyri. The 
great majority of the ostraca we possess are certainly 

In the second book of his Greek Ostraca WUcken 
published 1,624 specimens of these modest records 
of the past. No less than 1,355 of these had never 
been pubUshed before : they were hunted out with 
infinite pains by Wilcken in the museums of Berlin, 
London, Paris, Rome, Turin, Ley den, etc., and in 
private collections.^ The task of decipherment was 

■ The nnmber of ostraca in European museums and libraries has since in- 
creased by thousands — U. Wilcken, Archiv fur Papyrusf orschung, 4, p. 146. En- 


one of extreme difficulty ; the writing on the ostraca 
is cursive, often running into grotesque eccentricities, 
with a whole host of abbreviations and special signs. 
But the masterly skiU which Wilcken had shown 
as one of the decipherers of the Berlin papyri was 
again most brilliantly displayed. The result is that 
these humble texts are now ready to the scholar's 
hand, not indeed in a form that presents no problems 
and enigmas, but at least so edited as to be studied 
without effort. 

We are further indebted to Wilcken for a good 
deal of the historical discussion of all this new 
material. His Book I. constitutes a commentary on 
the grand scale, not in the sense that each single 
one of the ostraca receives separate interpretation 
{brief notes are given to many of them in Book II.), 
but in the form of a systematised discussion of the 
whole enormous miscellany. First comes a detailed 
introduction on the ostraca as writing material, 
including the origin and fortunes of the ostraca. 
The formulae employed in receipts are next examined, 
and the author then plunges into the minutiae of 
the Egyptian system of taxes and duties in the 
Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Next come economic 
observations, and researches on topography, metro- 
logy, chronology, and palaeography. Papyri, in- 
scriptions, and ancient authors are constantly quoted 
in illustration and comparison. The book was 
dedicated to Theodor Mommsen, and no offering 
more worthy of the great master's acceptance could 

tirely nevr collections, sach as the one at Heidelberg, have been formed. 
Egyptian dealers (and many European collectors) still attach no great value to 
ostraca : twenty times as much is often asked for a papyrus text of the same 
length. For a small outlay it is easy to acquire an extensive collection of 
ostraca. That is one good result of the immemorial prejudice which, it would 
almost seem, the centuries have bequeathed to us : the idea that a potsherd is 
more plebeian than a bit of papyrus. 


have been produced. It is in every respect a 
monument of learning. 

To theologians the ostraca are of no small value. 
They add many new touches to our knowledge of 
the life of ancient times. They throw hght on 
large tracts of the civilisation upon which the Greek 
Old Testament, many of the books of the Apocrjrpha, 
the works of Philo and of the Egyptian Christians 
were based. They show us the men of the age 
of fulfilment^ in their workaday clothes, and they 
afford rehable evidence concerning the language 
spoken in the Hellenised Mediterranean world at 
the time when the apostolic mission became to 
"the Greeks" a Greek. In these facts lies the 
great value of the ostraca (as of the non-literary 
papyri) to the student of Greek Judaism and of 
the first centuries of Christianity. Detailed proof 
of this assertion will be offered in the following 

Even more decidedly than the papyri, the ostraca 
are documents belonging to the lower orders of the 
people. The potsherd was in fact the cheapest writ- 
ing material there was, obtainable by every one gratis- 
from the nearest rubbish-heap. For this reason it 
was so admirably adapted for recording the vote of 
the Demos in cases of ostracism. The ostracon was 
beneath the dignity of the weU-to-do. As a proof 
of the poverty of Cleanthes the Stoic it is related 
that he could not afford papyrus and therefore wrote 
on ostraca or on leather.^ In the same way we find 
the writers of Coptic potsherd letters even in Christian 
times apologising now and then to their corre- 

' [" When the Mness of the time was come," Gal. iv. 4. Te.] 
^ Diog. Laert. vii. 173-4. A similai story is told of Apollonius Dyscolus, 
Wilcken, I. p. 6. 


spondents for having made use of an ostracon in 
temporary lack of papjTus.^ We, however, have- 
cause to rejoice at the breach of etiquette. The- 
ostraca take us right to the heart of the class ta 
which the primitive Christians were most nearly 
related, and in which the new faith struck root in. 
the great world. 

Direct information relating to the very oldest 
Christianity has not yet been yielded to us by the- 
ostraca. The Coptic potsherds, however, with their 
abundance of letters, fragments of letters, and 
similar texts, are of quite unique value for the: 
light they throw on the reUgious and social history 
of Christian Egypt; and they have lately been 
reinforced by Greek ostraca of the 5th century a.d.^ 
On the other hand, the space available for writing- 
being so small, we can hardly expect to recover on 
ostraca any large remains of early Christian Uterary 

The ostraca will restore to us no lost fathers of" 
the Church and no lost heretical writers. They have 
yielded hitherto only short quotations from classical 

' Cf. Cram, Coptic Ostraca, p. 49. For example No. 129, p, 55 : " Excuse 
me' that I cannot find papyrus as I am in the country." 

2 My knowledge of these is at present confined to a notice in the Frank- 
furter Zeitung, 12 July, 1907, 2nd morning edition : " It is reported from 
Alexandria that the excavations in the ancient Christian town of Menas have- 
brought to light amongst other things a series of valuable ostraca. These are 
in aU probability the oldest Greek writings of the kind from the Christian, 
period. Dr. H. J. Bell of the Manuscript Department of the British Museum 
examined with Dr. Kenyon a number of well-preserved specimens, and his- 
results vfiU be published in the forthcoming Third Eeport of the excavations. 
Among these documents are instructions for the payment of vine-dressers, 
wine-pressers (men who trod the grapes with their feet), lauudrymen, and. 
other workmen, for services rendered for the national sanctuary. Payment is 
made in money, in kind, or in food, and disabled workmen are also provided 
for. Comparisons with papyrus documents lead to the conclusion that the 
specimens hitherto deciphered belong to the 5th century. The same date is- 
indicated by the stratum in which they were found. More than 200 ostraca. 
have been recovered so far." 


authors, and those probably schoolroom exercises. 
The writers of ostraca were as a rule quite innocent 
of literary interests. After the scanty fragments 
discussed by Egger ^ there seemed but little hope of 
recovering even BibUcal quotations,^ until R. Reitzen- 
■stein pubhshed from a Strassburg ostracon of about 
the 6th century a hymn to the Virgin' which 
showed decided marks of the influence of Luke i. 
Since then Crum, in his Coptic Ostraca, has given us 
■ostraca with Greek quotations from the Bible, whUe 
Pierre Jouguet and Gustave Lefebvre have published 
a late ostracon from Thebes with a rude drawing of 
■" Saint Peter the Evangehst " and a few hues of 
-Greek that have not yet been identified.* Besides 
this Lefebvre has made known to us quite a series 
of gospel quotations in his Fragments Grecs des 
Evangiks sur OstrakaJ' This publication alone 

' Observations sur quelques fragments de poterie antique, Mfimoires de 
l'Acad6mie des Inscriptions, t. XXI. 1, Paris, 1857, p. 377 fE. 

' The " fragment of earthenware " from Megara with the text of the Lord's 
Prayer, published by B. Enopf , Athenische Mitteilungen, 1900, p. 313 S.., and 
Zeitschrift fiir die neutest. Wissensohaft, 2 (1901) p. 228 ff., is not a fragment 
-of a broken vessel, not a true ostracon, but a tablet no doubt made specially' 
to receive the inscription. The writing was scratched on the soft clay and 
ithen made permanent by burning. I inspected the tablet on 28 April, 1906, at 
Athens, and a plaster cast of it is in my possession. 

' Zwei religioTugeschiehtliehe Fragen nach v/ngedmchten griechisohen Texten 
■der Strassbitrger Bibliothek, Strassburg, 1901. Of. the remarks by Anrich in, 
the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 27 (1902) col. 304 f., and by U. WUcken in the Arohiv fiir 
Papyrusforschung, 2, p. 140. 

' Bulletin de Correspondance HelWnique, 28 (1904) p. 205 £., 29 (1906) p. 104. 
In any case the " evangelist Peter " is remarkable — no doubt a reminiscence of 
the Gospel of Peter. 

' Bulletin de I'Instltut fran^ais d'arohgologie orientale, t. IT., Le Caire, 1904 ; 
ths separate reprint which Ues before me consists of 15 pages quarto, with 
3 plates of facsimiles. I here make use of an article on " Evangelienfrag- 
mente auf agyptischen Tonscherben " which I contributed to Die Christliche 
Welt, 20 (1906) col. 19 ff. Ct. further A. Bludau, Griechisohe Bvangelien- 
fragmente auf Ostraka, Biblische Zeitschrift, 1906, p. 386 S. Caspar Ben£ 
•Gregory, Die grieohisohen Handsehriften des Neuen TettametUg, p. 43, denotes 
these ostraca by the number 0153 in his list, and the above-mentioned Lord's 
Prayer from Megara by the number 0152 (p. 42 f.). 


enables us to fill an empty page in the history of 
the New Testament. It gives us the text of 20 
Greek ostraca, large and small, inscribed with 
portions of our gospels. They were purchased many 
years ago in Upper Egypt by Bouriant, and are 
now a treasured possession of the French Institute 
of Oriental Archaeology. The exact place and 
circumstances of their discovery could not be 
ascertained, but their authenticity is beyond question. 
Their age can be conjectured from the style of the 
handwriting, and it appears that they were written 
probably in the 7th century, in the time of the 
Arab conquest. 

They aiford interesting materials for palaeography 
and the history of the text^ of the gospels which 
it is to be hoped will not be neglected by scholars. 
They contain in the handwriting of three different 
persons the text of Matt, xxvii. 31-32 ; Mark v. 
40-41, ix. 17, 18, 22, xv. 21; Luke xii. 18-15,' 
15-16, xxii. 40-45, 45-49, 49-53, 53-54, 55-59, 
59-60, 61, 61-64, 65-69, 70-71 ; John i. 1-9, 14-17, 
xviii. 19-25, xix. 15-17. 

Thanks to the editor's kindness I am able to give 

' Every ancient Bible-fragment that was certainly written in Egypt helps us 
to answer the question, "What text of the Bible was current in Egypt?" 
Lefebvre examined the character of the text prOTisionally, and Bludau has 
added farther details. The chief result is to establish the relationship of this 
text with the BNL etc. group, i.e. with the group of authorities claimed by W. 
Bonsset for the text of Hesycbius. This is a new proof of the correctness of 
Bousset's hypothesis, on which cf . my VerSffentUe'hvm.gen aut der Seidelberger 
Papyr'm-BammVwng I. p. 84, and Bousset's report on H. TOn Soden's recon- 
struction of the text of Hesyohins, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. (1907) coL 71 fE. 

' On the back of this ostracon (no. 5) there is the name Imlte and two lines 
which the editor could not account for. I print them in minuscules : — 

(«[ . . Jxo^ff 

This is certainly a fragment of Mark ix. 3 : — 

(>'TiX;8ovT[a Xcuxa Xiw] 
«[o 7j'o^[us etc.] 




here a (reduced) facsimile of ostracon no. 16, con- 
taining Luke xxii. 70-71 (Figure 3). 
The text runs thus : — 

eivav Se Travre? 
av ovv ei o v^ rov dv 
o Se irpo<s avTovi 
eifyi} vfieK ' Xeyere 
on eya> eifit oi Be 
eiirav rt en 'xpeiav 
expfiep fiaprvpiap 
avTOi yap ijKOvaafie^ 
airo Tov arofiaTOi 

And they all said, Art Thou 
then the Son of God? And 
He said unto them. Ye say that 
I am. And they said, What 
further need have we witness 
(sic)? for we ourselves have 
heard from . . . mouth. 

Of the two characters in the left-hand margin 
(read cb by Lefebvre) the i is certainly a numeral 
( = 10) denoting that this ostracon is the tenth in 
a consecutive series. The preceding ostraca with 
Luke xxii, 40-69 do in fact bear the numbers 1-9. 
The o however, which occurs with different pointing 
on most of the other members of this group, has 
not yet been explained. I conjecture that it is the 
number of a chapter according to an old ecclesi- 
astical division. In the copy of the gospel from 
which the ostraca were made Luke xxii. 40 ff. 
would then belong to the 70th chapter of Luke, 
whereas in the usual ancient division into chapters' 
it belongs to chapter 78. 

It will be seen at once that among the 20 
specimens the gospel of St. Luke is the most amply 
represented. Two ostraca contain the consecutive 
text of Luke xii. 13-16, and ten ostraca actually 
contain the complete text of Luke xxii. 40-71, i.e. 

' [The dots above v and ri (line 8) are characteristic of the writing of the 
time. Tb.] 

' [_=riKOv<raney. Tb.] 

" Hermann Freiherr von Soden, Die SoJmften des Neuen Testamenti in ilvrer 
aUesten erreicKbaren Textgeatattl., Berlin, 1902, p. 411. 

Fig. 3. — Ostracon from Upper Egypt, inscribed with Luke xxii. 70 f., 
7th cent. A.D. Now in the Institut franQais d'Archgologie orientale, 
Cairo. By permission of Gustave Lefebvie, of Assiout. 

[p. 50 


a large portion of the account of the Passion. The 
fact that these ten ostraca belong together is marked 
externally by the numerals 1-10 which, as mentioned 
above, the writer affixed to them. The fragments 
jfrom St. John probably also belong to one and the 
same series. This observation is important in two 
ways. On the one hand it points to the fact that 
probably all these gospel ostraca represent a single 
find. This is confirmed by the occurrence of 
Mark ix. 3 on the back of one of the fragments of 
St. Luke, as already pointed out. That passage 
occurs in the account of the Transfiguration, which 
immediately precedes the section from which ostracon 
no. 3 (Mark ix. 17, 18, 22) is taken. On the 
other hand we now have an indication of the 
nature of the whole collection, for light is thrown 
on the question, " For what purpose were they 
inscribed with texts from the gospels ? " 

If the ostracon inscribed with Mark ix. 17ff. were 
the only one that had come down to us it would 
be easy to suppose that the text was to be used as 
a curative amulet, in this case as an amulet against 
demoniacal possession. In the Heidelberg Uni- 
versity Library, for instance, there are several 
Biblical amulets of this kind on parchment and 
pap3rrus. The editor of the ostraca teUs us in fact 
that Perdrizet suggested the amulet hypothesis^ to 
him. But the series of ten consecutive ostraca and 
the other series of which we may conjecture demand 
another explanation than this. It is inconceivable 
that anybody should have carried ten ostraca about 
with him as an amulet, for the simple reason that 

' There is an article on gospel amulets by B. Nestle in the Zeitsohr. fur die 
neutest. Wissensohaft, 6 (1906) p. 96. Cf. further Gerhard Kropatscheck, De 
amuletomm apud antiques usu, Diss. Gryphiae, 1907, p. 28 fE. 


they would have been far too heavy. I have my- 
self tried the experiment, though with no thought 
of amulets in my mind, for I have often carried 
ten or a dozen ostraca from my coUection in my 
pockets to show to the audience at a lecture. It 
was in many respects a pleasing burden, but not in 
the least comfortable. 

Lefebvre's own theory was that the ostraca were 
written to form a cheap gospel lectionary, a book 
(if we may use the expression) for private or public 
reading consisting of extracts (Pericopae) from the 
gospels or perhaps even a continuous text. This 
theory we must accept unless, as now seems to me 
more probable, the ostraca were copied out by poor 
candidates for deacon's orders at the command of 
their bishop.^ Whoever has reaUsed the character 
of ostraca in general will not be slow to perceive 
the real import of this new find. Ostraca were as 
a rule the writing material used by the poor ^ ; a 
potsherd was to be had for nothing, even in the 
most straitened household, when some person or 
persons unknown had been unkind enough to break 
the oil-cruse or the kneading-pan. The person who 
wrote gospel texts on ostraca was a poor person : a 
would-be deacon, or perhaps a monk, a schoolboy, 
or a simple woman — some soul forgotten among the 
myriads that perish. 

So we might add this superscription to Lefebvre's 
fascinating work : " The gospels in the hands of the 
common people, the gospel among the poor of 
Egypt at the time when the deluge of Islam was 
approaching." In the very selfsame division of 

' Cf. the notes to the last letter but one quoted in Chapter HI. below 
(p. 212f). 
* Cf . the references at p. 46 f . above. 

Fig. 4. — Site of the Excavations in Delos. From a photograph by- 
Miss M. C. de Graffenried. 

[p. 53 


society which made them what they are, the most 
democratic texts of all antiquity, we encounter once 
again the gospels. Six centuries have passed, during 
which they have been copied on papyrus, on parch- 
ment, yea even on purple vellum with letters of gold, 
and thinkers and potentates, rich men and renowned 
have read them. After their long journeying through 
the world the gospels are at home once more: on 
worthless castaway potsherds a poor man writes the 
imperishable words that are the heritage of the poor. 

Our brief general description of the newly dis- 
covered texts is ended. New Testament in hand, 
let us now betake ourselves to the sites of excavations 
in the South and East and endeavour to decipher the 
stone inscriptions from the period which witnessed 
the great religious change.^ Or, if we must remain 
at home, let us at least open the Sacred Book and 
compare it with the folio volumes of inscriptions, 
papyri, and ostraca. The New Testament is an exile 
here in the West, and we do well to restore it to 
its home in Anatolia. It is right to set it once more 
in the company of the unlearned, after it has made so 
long a stay amid the surroundings of modem culture. 
We have had hundreds of University chairs for the 
exact, scientific interpretation of the Uttle Book — let 
us now listen while the homeland of the New Testa- 
ment yields up its own authentic witness to the 
inquiring scholar. 

■ An illustration ofEered itself unsonght in a pretty little snapshot taken by 
Miss M. C. de Graffenried, of Washington (Fig. 4). M. Holleanx, the director 
of the French excavations, is seen explaining to us one of the two Heliodorus 
inscriptions at Delos, 19 May, 1906, [M. Holleaux is pointing with his stict. 
The stooping figure to his right is Professor Deissmann. The tall figure seen 
against the fluted column is Professor von Duhn, of Heidelberg. Te.] This 
is the Heliodorus of the second book of Maccabees and BafEael's Stoma 
d'Eliodoro (of. Bitelttudien, p. 171 ft. ; Bible Studies, p. 303). 



1. As we study the New Testament on the lines 
indicated at the close of the preceding chapter, the 
first great impression we receive is that the language 
to which we are accustomed in the New Testament 
is on the whole just the kind of Greek that simple, 
unlearned folk of the Roman Imperial period were 
in the habit of using. The non-literary written 
memorials of that age at length have opened our 
eyes to the true linguistic position of the New 
Testament. That is the first and most easily de- 
monstrated of the services rendered us by the new 
texts. ^ 

Fifteen years ago, when it began to be asserted 
with some confidence that the isolation of "New 
Testament" Greek as a separate entity was impos- 
sible from the scientific point of view, since it was 
practically identical with the popular international 

' Earlier works of mine dealing with the enbject of the following pages 
are : Siielgtudien ; Nieue BibeUtudien ; an address on " Die sprachliche 
Erforschnng der griecbischen Bibel," Giessen, 1898 ; the article on " Hellenis- 
tisches Griechisch " in Herzog and Hauck, JBealeneyclopddie,' VII. 627 ff. ; 
reyiews of literature in the Theologisohe Bundschan, 1 (1897-98) p. 463 fi., 
5 (1902) p. 58 ff., 9 (1906) p. 210 fi.; and my Cambridge lectures on "The 
Philology of the Greek Bible," published in The Expositor, October 1907 to 
January 1908, and afterwards in book form, London, 1908. 



Greek of the period, theologians^ and philologists 
received the statement with more or less active 
dissent. One eminent Greek scholar^ of the philo- 
logical school said it was the language of a natura- 
hst rather than a theologian, and those familiar with 
the polemical literature of that date wiU know what 
the reproach of naturalism then meant in Germany.^ 
Since then, however, the specialists have changed 
their minds on this not unimportant point. New 
Testament philology is at present undergoing thor- 
ough reconstruction; and probably all the workers 
concerned in it both on the Continent and in English- 
speaking countries * are by this time agreed that the 
starting-point for the philological investigation of the 
New Testament must be the language of the non- 
literary papyri, ostraca, and inscriptions. The theory 
scored a complete victory in Albert Thumb's valuable 
book on the Greek Language in the Hellenistic age^ ; 
Stanislaus Witkowski acknowledged his adherence in 
the critical review which he gave (1904) of recent 
literature dealing with the Kolvtj.^ In a number of 
diflFerent articles,^ but more especially in his recent 

' The qnestion was gone into most in detail by Julius Boehmer, Das WbliscTie 
" Im Namen" Giessen, 1898, and Zwei wicbtige Kapitel ans der bibliscben 
Hermeneutik, Beitiage zur Fordemng ohristlicber Xheologie,'5 (1901) Heft 6, 
Giiteislob, 1902, p. 50 fE. ; and cf. bis remarks in Die Studieistube, 1 (1903) 
p. 340 ff., 2 (1904) p. 324 fE., 6 (1908) p. 587 f. 

' [F, Blass, leviewing Deissmann's JBibelstudien in the Theologische 
Literatuizeitung, 20 (1895) col. 487. Tb.] 

^ [Conservative theologians accused their liberal colleagues of proceeding 
on "naturalistic " lines in disregard or in defiance of Divine Bevelation. Ib.] 

* Cf., for instance, the latest contribution : S. Angus, Modern Methods in 
New Testament Philology, Harvard Theological Review, 2 (Oct. 1909) p. 446. 

* Cf. p. 19 above ; also the Theol. Rundschau, 5 (1902) p. 86 fE., and Archiv 
fur Papyrusforschung, 2, pp. 410 fE., 455 fE. 

' Bericht iiber die Literatui zur Koine aus den Jahren 1898^1902 (Jabres- 
bericbt liber die Fortschritte der classischen Altertnmswissenschaft, Vol. 120 
(1904 I.) pp. 153-256, especially p. 200 fE. 

' Cf . pp. 17, 40, above. [Moulton wrote on " New Testament Greek, in the 
Light of Modern Discovery" in Uttays on Some Biblical Quettiong of the 
Bwy, edited by H. 6. Swete, London, 1909. Tb.] 


Grammar of the New Testament, James Hope Moul- 
ton worked out the most important of the details 
that result from the application of the theory ; while 
Theodor Nageli,^ working by the same method, ex- 
hibited very effectively the vocabulary of St. Paul. 
Lastly, not to mention others, three philologists of 
repute have signified their acceptance of the theory 
and its results: firstly Jakob Wackemagel, in his 
article on the Greek language contributed to Die 
KuUur der Gegenwart ^ ; secondly Ludwig Rader- 
macher,* who is himself engaged on a new Grammar 
of the New Testament for Germans ; thirdly D. C. 
Hesseling,* who at the same time gave us the com- 
forting assurance that no dogma of the Church is 
threatened by the new method. There are also in- 
stances of Cathohc theologians both of the Western ° 
and of the Eastern ^ Church who have signified their 

What are the points concerned in judging of the 
language of the New Testament ? 

We may start from what is probably the average 
educated person's knowledge of the subject. He 
would say that " the original language " of the New 
Testament was Greek. This statement, however, is 
reaUy very vague. 

' Of. p. 17 above. 

* Die KuUur der Gegenwart (edited by Paul Hinnebeig), Part I. section viii. 
Berlin and Leipzig, 1905, p. 303 f. ; '1907, p. 308 f . 

' In the specimen pages of his " Orammatik des neutestamentUchen 
GTiiechisch " printed in the prospectus of Lietzmann's Sandhtoh znm Neium, 
Testament, 1906. 

* Ve betekenii van Ttet Nieuwgrieks voor de gesohiedenis der 6friekse taal en, 
der Griekse letterkunde, Leiden, 1907, p. 17. 

' H.g. Josef Sickenberger, Zum gegenwartigen Stand der Brforschnng des 
Neuen Testamentes, in the Literary Supplement to the Kolnische Yolkszeitung, 
29 Nov. 1906, p. 870. 

■ Of. S. J. Sobolewsky, Orthodome Theologisohe Uncyklqpddie herausg. von 
N. N. Glubokowsky, Vol. 9, St. Petersburg, 1908, col. 603-754, a summary 
especially valuable for its references to the literature of the subject. 


It is true, certainly, that it is a Greek New Testa- 
ment which presents itself to the scholar for study, 
but within the New Testament there are portions of 
which "the original language" was not Greek, but 
Semitic. Jesus of Nazareth, the Man whose person- 
ality was the decisive impulse, did not speak Greek 
when He went about His public work. He spoke 
the local idiom of His native Galilee, the language 
which, in the night of betrayal, betrayed His disciple 
Peter to be a Galilean. This language was Aramaic, 
a dialect akin to Hebrew but not identical with it ; 
and, to be quite exact, it was Galilean Aramaic that 
our Lord spoke. In that dialect the gospel was first 
preached. The ordinary reader of the Bible even 
now hears the last echo of the original when he 
comes upon such words as mammon, talitha cumi, abba, 
or such names as Barabbas, Martha, etc., which are 
all of them Aramaic. Moreover, the oldest record of 
the words that Jesus spake, the record of His apostle 
Matthew, was no doubt written in Aramaic for the 
Palestinian Christians who spoke that language. That 
most primitive version of our Lord's words has 
perished, unfortunately, so far as the Aramaic original 
is concerned. What would we give if we could re- 
cover but one papyrus book with a few leaves con- 
taining genuine Aramaic sayings of Jesus ! For 
those few leaves we would, I think, part smilingly 
with the theological output of a whole century. 

But it is of little use to speak further of this " if." 
It is more sensible to inquire why the words of Jesus 
are no longer extant in their original Aramaic. The 
answer is that Christianity, in becoming a world re- 
ligion, gradually forgot its oldest records — records 
that had originated far away from the world and 
were unintelligible to the world — and so they were 


lost. The Christian missionaries with an Aramaic 
book of gospels in their hands would have been 
powerless to make propaganda in what was in fact 
a Greek or rather Hellenised world. An Aramaic 
gospel-book would have condemned Christianity to 
remain a Palestinian sect. Ere it could become a 
world religion it had to learn the language of the 
world, and that is why the gospels put on the habit 
of the world ; for that reason St. Paul and others 
spoke and wrote the international language, and the 
New Testament took final form as a Greek book. 
The handful of earlier Aramaic copies vanished before 
the multitude of Greek manuscripts of the gospels, 
which from the second century onwards became more 
and more widely diffused. Their fate was the same 
as that of our spelling-books and copy-books. How 
many of the men who go down from the university 
with boxes full of Latin and Greek books and lecture 
notes will find still in existence at home the thumbed 
and ragged pages from which they first learnt the 

In the Roman Imperial period the language of 
the great world was Greek, which numbered more 
speakers then than the Latin with its millions. The 
great nulitary expeditions of Alexander the Great 
had combined with the more peaceful victories of 
commerce, art, literature, and science, to produce, 
just at the great turning-point in religious history, a 
more or less complete Hellenisation of those portions 
of the Mediterranean area which had been from time 
immemorial the home of civilisation. In the south 
of Europe, in Asia Minor,^ Egypt, and along the 

' Karl Holl, Das Fortlebeu der Volkssprachen in naohchristlicher Zeit, 
Henues, 43 (1908) p. 240, must however not be forgotten for its important 
evidence as to Asia Minor. 


northern shores of Africa, the culture and even the 
language was Greek, right down to the lower orders, 
of urban society especially. Even among the resi- 
dents of Rome there were plenty who spoke Greek. 
We know, for instance, that the Roman Jews of 
the period, a numerous body, spoke Greek almost 

In this Hellenised world, however, men no longer 
spoke local dialects of Greek. The world had 
become unified, and men spoke no more the ancient 
Doric, or Molic, Ionic, or Attic, but a siii^le Greek 
international language, one common tongue. The 
precise origin of this international Greek, which it is 
usual to refer to as the KoLjnj (" common " language), 
has not been made out,^ nor need it detain us here. 
The fact remains that in the period which gave birth 
to Christianity there was an international Greek 

It was not indeed a uniform entity. Two main 
divisions are recognisable, though the boundary 
between them is anything but fixed. Like every 
living language this international Greek possessed 
one form marked by greater freedom, and another 
marked by greater restraint. The one we call 
colloquial, the other hterary. 

The colloquial language in its turn went off into 
various shades of distinction, according to the refine- 
ment of the speaker. It was natural, moreover, for 
the literary language to display varieties of colora- 
tion. One influence was at that time powerfully 
affecting it, namely a romantic enthusiasm for the 

' Good statements of the questions at present in dispute have been given 
most recently by D. C. Hesseling, De Koine en de oude dialekten van 0riehen- 
land, Amsterdam, 1906; Mayser, Grammatik der griech. Papyri aut der 
Ptolerndeneit, p. 1 fE. ; and Karl Kmmbaoher, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 17 
(1908) p. 577 fE. 


great classics of the former age in Attic Greek. 
People imitated their manner of writing in the con- 
viction that here once for aU the standard of good 
Greek had been set. The followers of this romantic 
movement are called " Atticists " after the model 
they chose for imitation. Their convention was all 
but binding on the cultured and literary of that 
epoch, and has always remained one of the great 
powers in the intellectual world, influencing our 
humanistic studies even at the present day. We still 
possess works in plenty that were written by the 
ancient Atticists, and we are well informed as to their 
theories.^ We do, moreover, possess memorials of 
the colloquial language of culture in that period, 
since there were several authors who paid little or 
no attention to the rules of the Atticists. 

Memorials of the popular colloquial language, on 
the other hand, memorials of the spoken Greek of 
the people, were scarcely known to the general run 
of scholars at a period distant only some score or 
so of years from the present day. The lower orders, 
in all their wide extent, who in the time of the 
Roman Empire made up the bulk of the popula- 
tion in the great cities of the Mediterranean coast 
and the interior, — ^the non-literary people, whose 
vulgarisms and expressive terms were scorned and 
tabooed by the Atticists as weeds in the garden of 
language, — the masses of the people whom St. Paul 
at the end of 1 Cor. i. describes vdth the warmth 
of a blood-relation — this whole stratum of society 
seemed, with its language, to be buried for ever in 

' Of fundamental importance is the excellent work of Wilhelm Schmid (of 
Tiibingen), Der Attioismus in seinen Hauptvertretem von Dionysius von Mali- 
Jtarnass Tuis auf den zweiten Philostratns, 4 vols, and index-vol., Stuttgart, 


And what judgment was usually formed of the 
language of the New Testament, under these 
circumstances ? 

We may state the case thus : In many details 
due emphasis was given to its relation with the 
contemporary international Greek, but on the whole 
it was isolated by the science of language, and 
raised to the rank of a separate linguistic entity 
under the title of " New Testament " Greek. 

Two circumstances more particularly helped to 
make this isolatiye, dogmatic method prevail. From 
the point of view of reUgion and theology the 
isolation of the New Testament was encouraged by 
the doctrine of mechanical inspiration, combining 
with a very lively conception of the canon of the 
New Testament as a hard-and-fast boundary. From 
the point of view of language and philology every 
one with a classical training felt the strong contrast 
between the language of Scripture and the Attic 
Greek he had learnt at school. Enslaved by the 
immemorial prejudice of the Atticists, that the 
Greek world ended with Alexander the Great 
(whereas it really began with him), many who read 
the Greek New Testament never dreamt of taking 
up other Greek texts of the Imperial (and post- 
Alexandrian) period. The result was that for such 
readers there was a great gap between their New 
Testament and the earlier stage of Greek with which 
they were familiar, viz. the classical Attic of the 5th 
and 4th centuries b.c.^ Not only the theologians 
were at fault: philologists were in the same condemna- 
tion. So recently as 1894 the great Greek scholar 

' Much in the eame way as people nsed to be fond of ignoring the period 
between the conclasion of the Hebrew Old Testament and the rise of 
Christianity with reference to the bistoiy of religion. 


Friedrich Blass,^ of Halle, despite his marvellous 
knowledge of the whole range of Greek literature, 
asserted that New Testament Greek must be " recog- 
nised as something peculiar, obeying its own laws." 

We owe it to the newly discovered or at least 
newly appreciated records that this isolative method 
of treatment has been given up. Of the literary 
language, with its trained obedience to artificial rules, 
there were productions enough extant already. Then 
came the inscribed stones, papyri, and potsherds — 
themselves not absolutely free from the tyranny of 
school and office usage ^ — and gave us a wealth of 
documents representative of the colloquial language, 
especially in its popular formy just as it had grown 
and was stiU growing in a state of nature.' The 
papyri and ostraca particularly furnished ample 
material for comparative purposes, first as regards 
phonology and accidence, and then as regards the 
meanings conveyed by words. The inscriptions, 
however, also produced a surprising harvest, princi- 
pally of the lexical variety. 

2. The work to be accompUshed by the linguistic 
historian on the New Testament is barely begun, but 
one thing is clear already. The New Testament 
has been proved to be, as a whole, a monument 
of late colloquial Greek, and in the great majority 
of its component parts a monument of the more or 
less popular colloquial language. 

' Theologische Literaturzeitung, 19 (1894) col. 338. Blass afterwards 
changed his opinion on the subject. 

' On this point of. especially Edwin Mayser, Chammatik der grieohisohen 
Papyri aus der Ptolemderzeit, p. 3f. 

' It was long since noticed that the Mishna and other old Jewish texts con- 
tain considerable traces of popular Greek, but the subject does not come within 
the scope of this book. It was last treated by Paul Fiebig, Das Griechisoh der 
Mischna, Zeitschrif t fur die neutestamentUche Wissensohaf t, 9 (1908) p. 297-314. 


The most popular in tone are the synoptic gospels,^ 
especially when they are reporting the sajdngs of 
Jesus. Even St. Luke, with his occasional striving 
after elegance, has not deprived them of their simple 
beauty. The Epistle of St. James again cleariy re- 
echoes the popular language of the gospels. 

The Johannine writings, including the Revelation, 
are also linguistically deep-rooted in the most popular 
colloquial language. The Logos, occurring in the very 
first line of the gospel, has blinded most critics to the 
essential character of a book which, for aU its share in 
the world's history, is a book of the people. 

St. Paul too can command the terse pithiness of the 
homely gospel speech, especially in his ethical exhorta- 
tions as pastor. These take shape naturally in clear-cut 
maacims such as the people themselves use and treasure 
up. But even where St. Paul is arguing to himself 
and takes more to the language of the middle class, 
even where he is carried away by the priestly fervour 

> It is admirably remarked by J. Wellhansen, EMeitv/ng im, die drei ersten 
MttongeUen, Berlin, 1905, p. 9 : " In the gospels spoken Greek, and such Greek 
as was spoken by the people, makes its entry into literature. Some theologians 
have made rain endeavours to reduce it to the rules of the school grammar. 
Professed Greek scholars have in the past generally looked upon it from a 
narrow point of view only to despise it, but hare lately, under the influence of 
comparatire and historical philology, began to criticise it with an open mind." 
In his own linguistic comments on the gospels, where it becomes necessary to 
decide which phenomena are non-Greek, Wellhausen has, howerer, relied far 
too much on the Attic standard of Greek. In many passages his book is a 
testimony to the enormous influence which the orthodox doctrine of the 
Atticists still exerts to-day on an enlightened mind. WeUhausen says him- 
self (p. 35), " Greek being such an elastic and many-sided language, it may 
well be that here and there a Semiticism may also prove to be a Greek 
rnlgarism " — and his words certainly apply in the great majority of the cases 
he has put down as Semitic. " There is not the slightest use," he says immedi- 
ately afterwards, " in thrusting one's head into the Greek thicket "—but are we 
on that account to bury our heads in the sands of Semiticisms ? The question 
is, what was customary within the sphere of the liring Greek language of the 
people in the Imperial period 1 And if I am to answer this question I must 
purge myself of the learen of the Atticists and study that liring langnager 
That Aramaisms exist, I hare nerer denied ; only as to the number of the 
" non-Greek " phenomena I am of another opinion than WeUhausen, 


of the liturgist and by the enthusiasm of the Psalmist, 
his Greek never becomes literary. It is never dis- 
ciplined, say, by the canon of the Atticists, never 
tuned to the Asian rhythm^ : it remains non-literary.'^ 
Thickly studded with rugged, forceful words taken 
from the popular idiom, it is perhaps the most 
brilliant example of the artless though not inartistic 
colloquial prose of a travelled city-resident of the 
Roman Empire, its wonderful flexibility making it just 
the very Greek for use in a mission to aU the world. 

We are thus left with the total impression that 
the great mass of the texts which make up the New 
Testament, forming at the same time the most 
important part of the sacred volume in point of 
contents, are popular in character. The traces of 
Uterary language found in some few of the other 
texts cannot do away with this impression. On the 
contrary, the contrast in which the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, for instance, stands linguistically to the 
earlier texts of Primitive Christianity, is peculiarly 
instructive to us. It points to the fact that the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, with its more definitely 
artistic, more literary language' (corresponding to 

* Friedricb Blass, Die Rhythmen der atiamitehen vmA rSmitehen Kimttpnia, 
Leipdg, 1905, regards f^e Epistles of St. Paul as largely consisting of 
rhythmically elaborated artistic prose — a singular instance of the great 
scholar's having gone astray ; cf. TheoL Lit,-Ztg., 31 (1906) coL 231 S. 

2 I entirely agree with Sageli (cf. especially p. 13 of his work) in his 
opinion of the apostle's langnage. 

* Nobody conld appreciate this contrast more correctly or express it more 
happly than Origen (qnoted in Busebins, JSccl. Sist. VL xzr. 11) has done : 
Jrt 6 x<ip<n^P '^t f^em TTJs -wfAs "Bfipaiovs inyeypafifiir^ triarvXyt oin (xa ri if 
'kiryif liiuTudbn rou dnwriXow o/toXoy^orrot ieaniii ISuinir drai rf Myf TovrArri 
rg ippita, dXXif i<rra> ii iricToMi avfSiau Tijt'\i(eas 'VhXitnKurtpa, rSf i trurrir 
/lerm rptreir (ppijreuii Suupopit biuSdrfifnu 6» — " that the lingniatic character of 
the einstle entitled 'to the Hebrews' has none of that mdenees of speech 
which the apoetle himself confessed when he said [2 Cor, xl 6] he was mde 
of speech, ije. in expression, that on the contrary the epistle is more Greek in 
its stylistic stnctore, will be admitted by every one who is able to judge of 
differences of style." 


its theolo^cal subject-matter), constituted an epoch 
in the history of the new religion. Christianity is 
b^inning to lay hands on the instruments of culture ; 
the literary and theological period has begun. There 
■wiU be more to say on this head in the next chapter. 
The modern conception of New Testament Greek 
is not altogether a new ttung : our advances in know- 
ledge rarely are. Under the late Roman Empire, 
when the old learning and culture came into hostile 
collision with Christianity, pagan controversialists 
spoke mockingly of the language of the New Testa- 
ment as a boatman's idiom. The Christian apologists 
accepted the taunt and made the despised simplicity 
of that language their well-warranted boast.^ The 
hopeless attempt to prove the Bible as a whole and 
the New Testament ia particular to be artistically 
perfect in its external form was first made by Latin 
apolo^ts.^ The same theory reappeared many 
centuries later in the conflict between the so-caUed 
Purists and Hebraists,* and was passionately main- 
tained and disputed by these two rival schools of 

' For details see Edaaid Norden, Die antiie KwMtprosa^ II. p. 512 &. 

* Ednaid Noiden, IL p. 526 fE. 

' See especaally the account in Winer and Schmiedel, § 2, p. 4 ff. — ^The 
latest phase of New Testament philology has sometimes been described as a 
levival of the strife between the Hebiaists and the Pnrists. That is, however, 
not qnite accoiate. The primaiT dispate no longer concerns the fact of 
Hebrew (or rather, Semitic) intrusions in the Greek of the New Testament : 
no one denies the existence of Semitidsms ; opinions are only divided with 
reference to the relative proportion of these Semiticisms. On the other hand, 
there is now no assertion of the "purity" of New Testament Greek in the 
sense of the old disputants. The new tendency in the work now being done 
is to emphasise the popular and non-literary element in the language of the 
apostles and to protest against the dogmatic isolation of New Testament 
philology. — ^As eady as 1863 we find Bishop laghtfoot remarking with the 
keen vision of a seer in one of his lectures : "... if we could only recover 
letters that ordinary people wrote to each other without any thought of being 
Uteisry, we should have the greatest possible help for the understanding of 
the language of the N.T. generally." (Note by the Bev. J. PuUiblank in J. H. 
Moulton's 6lrammar,' p. 242.) Such letters (and other texts) have since then 
been made accessible in great abundance by tiie papyri and ostraca. 



Biblical interpretation, To many it appeared as 
something perfectly obvious that Holy Scripture 
must be clothed in language at least as classical 
as that of Demosthenes or Plato, and assertions to 
the contrary were felt to be an outrage upon the 
Holy Ghost. We for our part are on the side of 
those who see beauty in the wild rose-bush as well 
as in a Gloire de Dijon. What is natural is also 
beautiful, and does not cease to be beautiful until 
artificiality and pretence step in. Thus in our opinion 
the new method of philological treatment brings out 
the peculiar beauty of the New Testament, by 
establishing the popular simplicity of the language 
in which it is written. The relation in which the 
language of the people stands to the artificial 
language of hterature reminds us of the Master's 
own words, when He said, "Consider the lilies of the 
field, how they grow ; they toil not, neither do they 
spin : and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in 
all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." 

3. How truly valuable the newly recorded docu- 
ments are in the study of the language of the New 
Testament can only be reaUsed by examples. In 
the following pages, therefore, some characteristic 
examples have been selected fi-om the vast mass of 
available material. With regard, however, to the 
first point to be illustrated, viz. the phonology and 
accidence, there is no need to go into details here ; 
a few remarks of a general nature will suffice.^ 

A. The characteristic features of the living Greek 
language that was in international use are most 
clearly seen in the phonology and accidence. The 

' In what follows I have made occasional use of my article on " Hellenis- 
tisches Griechisch " in Herzog and Hauck, Mealencyclopddie,^ VII. p. 627 fE. 


assumption of a special New Testament or Biblical 
Greek is hopelessly refuted by the observations made 
in this field, AH the hundreds of morphological 
details in the Biblical texts which strike a reader 
accustomed to Plato and Xenophon wiU be found 
also in the contemporary " profane " records of inter- 
national Greek, especially in those texts which have 
come down to us in their original form without 
passing through the refining fires of an Atticist 
purgatory. They occur in the inscriptions, but 
most of all in the ostraca and papyri. P. W. 
Schmiedel's new edition of the Accidence of Winer's 
Grammar of the New Testament Idiom appeared 
before the most important of the recently discovered 
papyri had been published, so that no use could be 
made of this most instructive material, and yet that 
book contains so many trustworthy observations as 
to make it impossible any longer to ignore the 
morphological identity of the supposed " New 
Testament Idiom " with the Hellenistic colloquial 
language. The other recent New Testament 
Grammars also bring out the fact, and, from another 
point of view, so do Karl Dieterich's Researches on the 
History of the Crreek Language from the Hellenistic 
Period to the \Oth Cent. A.D.^ Here we see the 
value of things that are often loftily despised as 
philological trifles : the overwhelming amount of 
small facts ascertained with absolute certainty has 
brought New Testament philology into such close 
connexion with the general study of late Greek as 
will never again be broken. R. Helbing's Septua- 
gint Grammar has established the same organic 
connexion between Septuagint philology and the 
wider subject. 

' Cf. also Ifeue BibeUtudien, pp. 9-21 ; Sible Studies, pp. 181-193. 


B, We quote one example from the special depart- 
ment of word-formation which may be called onomat- 
ology. The word Panthera, used as a man's name, 
is of great interest to New Testament scholars, though 
it is not found in the Bible. It appears in later 
traditions concerning the family of Jesus of Nazareth, 
and plays a great part particularly in the Jewish 
legends of the birth of Christ. A few years ago 
Hackel's unsuccessful foray in the domain of New 
Testament research^ made the name familiar to a 
large public. Many scholars have bestowed their 
attention to it, and in almost every case they have 
concluded it to be a nickname specially invented for 
the purposes of Jewish polemics.^ The problem as 
to the origin of this name can now be solved with 
certainty, thanks particularly to Latin inscriptions. 
The name Panthera is known in Attic inscriptions, 
but it occurs frequently in funeral and other inscrip- 
tions of the Imperial period as a cognomen of both 
men and women. ^ Most interesting of all, perhaps, 
is the tombstone of Tiberius Julius Abdes * Pantera, 
of Sidon in Phoenicia, a Roman archer at the very 
beginning of the Imperial period. It was found near 
Bingerbriick, and is now in the museum at Kreuz- 
nach (Fig. 5). Taken in conjunction with the other 

' In The Middle of the Universe. 

' And derived either from irSpvos (fornicator) or vapBhos (virgin). 

■ Detailed proofs vrill be found in my article " Der Name Panthera " in 
Orientalisohe Studien (presentation volume to Theodor Noldeke), Gieszen, 
1906, p. 871 ff. Of. also the name Udi'Bijp Ptmther in a Faydm papyrus, 101- 
102 A.D., which contains a, number of Jewish names (Berliner Griechisohe 
Urkunden, No. 715, 1,). 

' Count Wolf Baudissin explained this Hbed name to me (by postcard, 
dated Berlin, 29 January, 1907) as DN 12V servant of Ms. This is not 
the only ex3,mple of Jsis occurring among the Phoenicians. My attention was 
called by the same authority to the soldier's inscription at Ashmunen (Lidz- 
barski, Bphemerisfiir semitisohe EpigrapMh 2. p. 338), KotHuv 'AjSSe'ous, " Oottio 
the son of Abdes " ( A;85?s). 

Fie, 5,— Tombstone from Bingerbriiok, early Imperial Period- 
How at Erenznach, 

[p. 89 


inscriptions, this epitaph ^ from the German frontier 
of the Roman Empire^ shows with absolute cer- 
tainty that Panthera was not an invention of Jewish 
scoflFers, but a widespread name among the ancients. 

C. Viewed in the light of the new documents the 
vocabulary of the New Testament also displays 
features characteristic of the Hellenistic colloquial 

(a) With regard to the words themselves the proof 
of our thesis cannot in all cases be made out with 
the same completeness as in the phonology and 
accidence ; but there is no need for absolute com- 
pleteness here. It is obvious that the vocabulary of 
the international language, recruited from all the 
countries that had acknowledged the supremacy of 
Greek, can never be completely known to us in all 
its fulness. As a matter of fact words are constantly 
turning up in the newly discovered texts which one 
may seek in vain in the dictionaries. It is equally 
natural that many words can only be found a few 
times, sometimes only once, in the whole body of 
the texts known to us. Nobody with common sense 
will suppose that these were all coined by the writers 
on the spur of the moment : they are little discoveries 
for the lexicographer, it is true, but not inventions 
by the authors.^ Such little discoveries can be made, 
not a few, in the Greek Bible. The advocates of the 
theory of " Biblical " Greek have often made capital 

' The complete inscription runs : — 

Tii. lul. Aldet. Pa/ntera. 

Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera, 

Sidonia, arm. LXII, 

tty>en. XXXX. 'miles. ex>. 

coh. I. tagittariorum. 

h. t. e. 

' The cohort of archers in which the Sidonian served had come to the 
Bhine in the year 9 a.d. 
* In Qreek phrase I should say that they are fin-a| fvptiiUva, not iira^ ilfquha. 

of Sidon, aged 62, 

a soldier of 40 years' service, 

of the 1st cohort of archers, 

lies here. 


out of them. Cremer was especially fond of dis- 
tinguishing these erratics as " Biblical " or " New 
Testament" words which were specially due to the 
power of Christianity to mould language. Even 
Grimm, in his edition of Wilke's Clavis Novi 
Testamenti, was always careful to mark the rarities 
as " vox solum biblica," " vox mere biblica," " vox 
profanis ignota," thus creating everjrwhere the im- 
pression that " Biblical Greek " could after all be 
discovered somehow by means of the lexicon.^ 

In quite a number of cases, however, there are 
intrinsic reasons for saying at once : It is a mere 
accident of statistics that this word has been found 
hitherto only in the Bible. In other cases it is 
possible to prove directly from some neglected or 
newly discovered author, from inscriptions, ostraca, 
or papyri, that the word does after all belong to 
"profane," i.e. general Hellenistic, Greek. Such is 
the case, for instance, with the following supposed 
" Biblical " or " New Testament " words and combina- 
tions : ayajTH]^ dKaToiyvQxrTos, avTiXTJiLiTTcop, iXaiav, 
a/WTnov, evdpea-ToSf cviXaros, leparevco, KaOapitfa, Kvpi- 
aKos, XeiToupyt/fds, Xoyeta, ve6(f>vT0^, 6(j)ev\i], vepi^i^iov, 
dtro iripvcri, Trpocrevxij, irvppaKrjs, (TtTOfieTptov, evavn, 

' The English edition of Grimm's Wilke by J. H. Thayer, the best New 
Testament dictionary hitherto produced (corrected edition, New York, 1896), is 
more cautious here in the text; of. Gottiugische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1898, 
p. 922. 

* Cf . the example now found by William H. P. Hatch, p.l8, n. 4 above. Wilhelm 
Cronert tells me (postcards, Gottingen, 26, 30 July, and 6 August, 1908) that 
he conjectures with great probability iyivq in a MS. of Philodemus (90-40 B.C.) 
among the Herculanean rolls at Naples. Details are reserved by him for later. 

' For the last two words of. Blass, Chramimatik de» NeutestamentlioJien 
6/riechisoh,' pp. 129, 71. [English translation,^ pp. 128 n. 1, 68 n. 2. Tb.] (In 
his first edition Blass had also quoted tfeikoirpareia from an inscription, and 
I unfortunately relied on this in my article in the Realencyolopadie,* but it 
afterwards proved to be an error.) Quotations wiU be found for the remain- 
ing words in my Bibelstwdien and Netie Bibelstndien (— Bible Studiei). 


It will perhaps be objected, What are they among 
so many ? What is this secularisation of 21 
" Biblical " or " New Testament " words in comparison 
with the large number of cases in which no secular 
parallel has yet been found to characteristic pecuU- 
arities of the Greek Bible or New Testament ? To 
this it must be rephed that the number of specifically 
New Testament words at any rate has been 
enormously overestimated by all the statisticians. 

The chief of those who have taken up this 
statistical problem in recent years is H. A. A. 
Kennedy ; but he himself, as he tells me, ^ is no 
longer prepared to insist on his figures. Out of 
4,829 New Testament words (excluding proper names 
and words derived therefrom) he formerly reckoned 
580 ^ or in round numbers 550 ^ to be " Biblical," i.e. 
*' found either in the New Testament alone, or, 
besides, only in the Septuagint." These figures were 
no doubt obtained from the lists in Thayer's Lexicon. 
At the end of that volume we find, among other 
statistical information, a list of " BibUcal, i.e. New 
Testament" words, 767 in number. From these, 
however, Thayer himself excepted 76 words as 
*' late " {i.e. known to be used elsewhere) and 89 as 
doubtful, leaving 602. But if we subtract from 
767 the total number of words (some 218) in the 
list which Thayer himself notes as occurring in 
Polybius, Plutarch, and elsewhere, there remain only 
549. That is approximately Kennedy's number, and 
is certainly a considerable amount. 

But now comes the surprise. Among the 550 
remaining words we find first a number of proper 

' Letter, Toronto, 13 October, 1908. 

' Sowcei of New Testament Greeli : or the Inflaence of the Septuagint on 
the Vocabulary ,of the New Testament, Edinburgh, 1895, p. 62. 
' Page 93. 


names, then a quantity of Semitic and Latin tran- 
scriptions or borrowed words, then a series of 
numerals.^ Finally, however, if we consult the 
excellent articles in the Lexicon itself, we shall find 
in the case of many of the words still remaining 
that there are quotations given from Josephus, 
Plutarch, Marcus Aurelius, etc. I Thus, for example, 
out of 150 words enumerated by Kennedy ^ as oc- 
curring " only " in the Septuagint and the New 
Testament, 67 are quoted by Thayer himself from 
pagan authors ! The only excuse that I can see 
for the inaccuracy in these old statistics is that most 
of the authors quoted for the 67 words are later 
in date than the New Testament. But are we to 
regard words as specifically " New Testament " words 
because they happen to make their first appearance 
there ? Did Plutarch, for instance, borrow words 
from the Bible ? That is altogether improbable. 
The Bible and Plutarch borrow from a common 
source, viz. the vocabulary of late Greek. ^ 

That there are such things as specifically "Biblical" 
and specifically " New Testament " (or rather, " early 
Christian ") words, I have never denied. No lengthy 
statistical investigations as to usage are necessary 
in order to recognise these special words : a glance 
is sufficient. But when a word is not recognisable 
at sight as a Jewish or Christian new formation, we 
must consider it as an ordinary Greek word until the 
contrary is proved.* The number of really new- 

' E.g. SexaSio, SeKariaaapes, SeKairiirre, Sexai^, S€KaoKTii, 

' Page 88 ff. 

' Cf. Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1896, p. 766. I there quoted the 
following words from Plutarch: iiroKA\vtfns, yviiarr]!, SKoxXripla, irp6rKonim, 
aay^vTi, tl/iSvpiafids, nUrBios, Tairavb<j>pm>, ivTaipiiiw, i^vrvLj^ii), iMxpoSvuiu. 

* imoiirtos is a case in point, in my opinion, notwithstanding the well-known 
remark of Origen. As a rule little reliance is to be placed on observations of 
the ancients with regard to the statistics of language. Jerome, for example. 


coined words is in the oldest (New Testament) period 
very small. 1 estimate that in the whole New 
Testament vocabulary of nearly 5,000 words not 
many more than 50 — fewer than that, more hkely — 
will prove to be " Christian " or " Biblical " Greek 
words.^ The great enriching of the Greek lexicon 
by Christianity did not take place till the later, 
ecclesiastical period, with its enormous development 
and dififerentiation of dogmatic, liturgical, and legal 
concepts. In the religiously creative period which 
came first of all the power of Christianity to form 
new words was not nearly so large as its effect in 
transforming^ the meaning of the old words. 

As we have said, a close examination of the ancient 
literary texts ^ alone leads to the secularisation of 
many words in Thayer's " Biblical " Ust, when it is 
agreed to drop the petty quibble that pagan authors 
of, say, the second century a.d. do not come into 
account. It is a weak point in Cremer's Ijcxicon 
especially that " late " pagan parallels to New Testa- 
ment words are apt to be treated with a certain 
contempt, whereas in reality the " late " parallels 
to the New Testament, which is itself "late," are 

in commenting on Gal. i. 12, was quite wrong in saying that iiroKi\v<liis was a 
Biblical word, never employed by any of the world's wise men. Cf. R. C 
Trench, Synonymt of the New Testament, 7th ed., London, 1871,"p. 333 (§ xciv). 

' I therefore estimate the total of " Biblical" words in the New Testament 
as (at the utmost) 1 per cent, of the whole vocabulary. Kennedy (p. 93) 
estimated it at 12 per cent. 

' The medical, astrological, and legal writers especially have not yet been 
thoroughly examined, and will prove very productive. Quite astonishing 
lexical parallels to the Bible are found, for instance, in a writer of whom t 
make repeated use later on in these pages, the astrologer Vettius Yalens of 
Antiocb, who wrote in the 2nd century A.D. Cf. Guilelmus KroU, Ma/ntUia 
OVsemationum Vettiatiarum (Eaooerptvm, ex Catalogo codicvm astrologorwm 
graecorum, t. V. p. ii.), Bruxelles, 1906, p. 152 fE. An edition of Vettius Valens 
by EroU appeared recently : Vettii Valentit Anthologiarum Uhri, Berlin, 1908. 
Cf. the review by J. L. Heiberg, Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 29 (1908) 
col. 1764 fE. 


much more instructive than the quotations from 
Homer or Plato. 

The numbei: of " Biblical " words shrinks, however, 
still further if we pursue the search among our non- 
literary texts. From the immemorial homes of 
Greek culture in Hellas and the islands, from the 
country towns of Asia Minor and the villages of 
Egypt no less than from the great centres of com- 
merce on the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, year 
■after year brings us new illustrations. Non-Christian 
texts are found containing words that were formerly 
— although " the kingdom of God is not in word " — 
thought to pertain exclusively to Primitive Chris- 
tianity or the Old and New Greek Testaments. 

In proof that the list given above ^ can already 
be largely increased 1 will here give a number of 
examples, beginning with 10 words which would 
assert their secularity at first glance, even if no 
quotations were forthcoming from extra-Biblical 

(1) The word dWoyevyjs, " of another race, a 
stranger, foreigner," found frequently in the Septua- 
gint and once in the New Testament (Luke xvii. 18), 
is said by Cremer^ and the other lexicographers to 
be " confined to Biblical and patristic Greek." The 
Roman authorities,^ however, in placing inscriptions 
on the marble barriers of the inner courts of the 
Temple at Jerusalem, thought differently of the word, 
or they would not have employed it in a notice 


' "Page 247. 

' Theodor Mommsen, Bomisehe GescMclite, V.,* Beilin, 1894, p. 513, was of 
opinion that the "tablets" were not put up by the Jewish kings but by the 
Bomau government. So too Dittenberger, Orientis Cfraeei Inseriptionet 
SeUetae, II. p. 295. 

Fig. 6. — Limestone Block from the Temple of Herod at Jerusalem, iusoribed with a warninf 
Early Imperial Period. Now in the Imperial New Museum at Constantinople. 


intended to be read by Gentiles, who were thereby 
threatened with death as the penalty for entering. 
One of these inscriptions was discovered by Clermont- 
Ganneau in 1871. The istone on which it is cut — a 
substantial block,^ on which the eyes of Jesus and 
St. PauP may often have rested — is now in the 
Imperial New Museum at Constantinople (Figure 6). 
The inscription ' is as follows : — 

Mijdeva aWoyevi) elfftro- 
peveffdai^ evro? tov ire- 
pX TO lepov Tpv<f>dKTOv icai 
irepi^6\ov. o<s 8' av Xi/- 
'^d^, iavraii atrto? etr- 
Tai Slit TO i^axoXov- 
delv^ BdvaTov. 

Let no foreigner enter within 
the screen and enclosure sur- 
rounding the sanctuary. Who- 
soever is taken so doing will 
be the cause that death over- 
taketh him. 

It is very remarkable that Josephus, who refers 
more than once to this ordinance, does not use our 
word, but two others.^ Had dXAoyet^s been a 

' One reads generally of a " tablet "; but it is a limestone block, 22|^ inches 
high, 33^ inches long, and 14^ inches thick. The letters aie more than 
\\ inch high. I inspected the stone on 10 and 11 April, 1906 (it was then 
in Chinili Kiosk), and it seemed to me that I could detect signs of the letters 
having been formerly painted. " If the tablet really bears the marks of blows 
from an axe, they must have been done by the soldiers of Titus " — Mommsen, 
p. 513. 

' It will be remembered that in consequence of an alleged breach of this 
zegolation by St. Paul, who had taken Trophimns into the inner precincts, a 
tumult arose, and the apostle was then arrested. Acts xxi. 28 f. 

' It has often been printed, most recently by Dittenberger, Orienlis Gfraeci 
Imeriptiones Selectae, II. No. 598; references to previous literature will be 
found^there and in Sohiirer, IL' p. 272 f . Cf . also Moulton and Milligan, The 
Expositor, February 1908, p. 179. 

* The imperatival infinitive is common in edicts and notices (as in German). 
Ct Bibelstudien.ip. 260 ; Bible Studies, p. 344 ; and B. L. Hicks, The Collection 
of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, Part III. p. 176. 

* iiaKoKovSiu is one of the words counted as " Biblical " by Thayer in his 
list, although in his text he gives quotations for it from Polybius, Plutarch, 
etc. I 

' dWJ^vXos and d\\oe9»^t. The passages are collected by Dittenberger, op. 
jsit. p. 295 (_BeU. Jud. 5, 193 ; 6, 124 ; Antt. 15, 417). Further quotations in 
Schurer, II.« p. 272. 


specifically Jewish word, it would not be easy to 
understand why he or his Greek revisers should 
have suppressed it. The fact probably is that, being' 
an unliterary word of the people, it had to give way 
to the two other literary words in the pages of a 
writer who was aiming at elegance. 

Even if the warning notice had been given its 
final form by the Jewish authorities, that would 
prove nothing against the view I have taken of this 
word. There is nothing whatever specifically Jewish 
about it either in sense or form.^ 

(2) One can scarcely repress a smUe on discovering 
in Thayer's " Biblical" list the word ovlkos, "of or 
belonging to an ass," which seems anything but 
" Biblical " or " Christian," though it is true that 
oxen and asses are animals mentioned in the Bible, 
and the word was only known in Matt, xviii. 6 and 
Mark ix. 42 in the expression for " a millstone turned 
by an ass." We find the word, however, exactly 
in the time of Christ in a Fayfim contract for the 
loan of an ass, dated 8 February, 33 a.d.,^ and again 
exactly in the time when the gospels were being 
written, in another Egyptian document relating to 
the sale of an ass, dated 5 February, 70 a.d.' More-; 
over in the scale of taxes at Palmyra, recorded on 
stone in 136-187 a.d.,* there is twice mention of 
a tax on an ass's burden of goods. The gospel word 
is thus given both a southern and an eastern setting,. 

' It is the opposite of ai6tytv/is, which is a similar formation, and good 

^ Berliner Griechische Crkunden, No. 912^, rd dnxi, KT'/ivrj, "the asses,'* 
referring to an ass and her foal. 

' Zes Papyrus de Geneve transorits et publics par Jules Nicole, Geneve, ISSfr 
and 1900, No. ZSsf. iri rSiv iiropx^'"'wy iiiuv iviK&v Kn)viav 6vov Iva /jLvdxpow, 
" of the asses belonging to ns, one monse-coloured ass." 

* Dittenberger, Orientis Cfraeci ImoripHonei Selectae No. 629,g-,j yi/tm/ 


and is doubtless to be regarded as belonging to the 
colloquial language of every-day life. It survives 
in the Middle Greek to {6)vi,kqv, vs^hich is still 
in dialectal use, for instance in the island of 

(3) Ppoxv, " a wetting, rain," is rightly described 
by Thayer in his article as a late word, but neverthe- 
less isolated in his " Biblical " Ust. A lease among 
the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (No. 280), of the year 88-89 
A.D., uses it to mean irrigation by the overflowing 
of the Nile.^ This one quotation is enough to show 
that the word formed part of the living language. 
It is therefore quite justifiable to refer to its 
existence in Modern Greek.' The present-day 
language has not taken the word from the Bible, 
but the Bible and Modern Greek have both drawn 
from one common source — the ancient colloquial 

(4) KOKKivo^, " scarlet," an adjective frequently 
occurring in the Greek Old and New Testaments, is 
included in Thayer's list of " Biblical " words, though 
a good deal of ingenuity would be needed to say why 
the Biblical language required this special expression. 
Thayer himself, however, gives quotations for the 
word from Plutarch and Epictetus * ; he must have 
placed it in his exclusive list because he considered 
these two authors to be late, and almost post-Biblical. 
The occurrence of the word, therefore, in an older 
contemporary of the Septuagint that the papjTi have 

' Heaseling, Byzantinische Zeitsohrift, 8 (1899) p. 149. 

' The document mentions jSpox^s ria-a-apes, " four waterings " of a piece of 
land. Cf. H. van Herwerden, LexiQon Graecwm Suppletoriwm et Dialeotiowni, 
Lugdnni Batavorum, 1902, p. 163. 

• Kennedy, Sources, p. 153 ; Thumb, Die griecKisehe Spraohe, p. 226. 

• To these must be added Martial, a contemporary of the New Testament, 
who uses cooeina (Epigr. ii. 39, etc.) for " scarlet garments." 


restored to us, Herondas (vi. 19),^ is not without 

(5) In astonishment at finding in Thayer's list of 
"Biblical" words eVStSvo-Kw, "I put on," which, 
though it occurs in the Septuagint and the New 
Testament, is a perfectly colourless expression, in 
no way deserving this sacred isolation,^ we turn to 
Thayer's article on the word and find at least one 
quotation from Josephus. As Josephus, however, 
was a Jew, and may therefore seem to border on the 
" Biblical," ^ we welcome an undoubted quotation 
from a profane source,* and yet contemporary with 
the Septuagint, viz. an inscription from Delphi, circa 
156-151 B.C.' 

(6) ifiaTiCo, " I clothe," seems no less worldly than 
the last word, which indeed it resembles in meaning ; 
but because it was only known to occur in Mark v. 
15 and Lukeviii. 35 it appears in Thayer's "Biblical" 
list. The Primitive Christians, however, had no call 
to invent new terms connected with dress,^ and so 
this word is of course secular in origin. It is found 
in one of the pre-Christian Serapeum documents, 163 
B.c.'^ ; again later,* a welcome parallel to the New 
"Testament," it occurs among the Oxyrhynchus 

' Serondae Mimiambi iterum edidit Otto Crusius, Leipzig, 1894, p. 47, rbv 
k6kkuiov §av^S>va. 
2 Of. IfuiHfu, no. 6 below. 
' Philologically this statement could only be accepted with great reservations. 

* Van Herwerden, Leaiieon, pp. 270 and 271. 

* Sa/m/mVwng der grieoMschen Dialekt-Insehriften, herausgegeben von H. 
ColUtz, II., Gottingen, 1899, No. 1899,3 = Dittenberger, Sylloge? No. 857,, 
ivSiiSuTKbiievot (sie ; a stonemason's error), "clothed." The statement of 
Johannes Bannack, in CoUitz, that hiBidiaxu in the New Testament means 
" make to put on " is not correct. 

' 1 Peter iii. 3, 4. 

' Greek Papyri in the British Museum, ed. ¥. G. Kenyon, No. 24„, Vol. I. 
p. 32, i/toTt« ofiTijy, " will clothe her." I am indebted to Mayser's Grammar of 
the Papyri, pp. 93, 465, for this passage. 

* Cf. van Herwerden, Appendix, p. 107. 


Papyri^ in the testament of a man who could not 
write his own name, Dionysius the son of Harpo- 
cration, 117 a. d., clearly in formular phraseology,^- 
which comes again in similar form in an instru- 
ment of adoption from Hermupolis, 31 December, 

381 A.D.' 

(7) oTTTcivo/iai, " I am seen, I let myself be seen,'" 
Acts i. 3, is in Thayer's list of " Biblical " words, 
although E. A. Sophocles* had quoted it from the 
so-caUed Hermes Trismegistus,^ More important 
are the examples now known from two much older 
Ptolemaic papyri^ (Paris No. 4933, circa 160 b.cJ j. 
and Tebtunis No. 2*5, 117 b.c.^), which prove that 
the word was at any rate current in Egypt and 
explain the Septuagint usage (1 Kings viii. 8 ; Tobit 
xii. 19) in the most direct manner. 

(8) iXXoyeo), " I put down to some one's account, I 
reckon, impute," Philemon 18, Komans v. 13, is one 
of those words that have as worldly a look as possible. 
Thayer, however, in his " Biblical " Ust separates it off" 
from all other Greek, although in his article on the 

' No. 4899 aid 17. 

' The children o£ a female slave are twice mentioned as having been " fed 
and clothed " by the testator's wife, iKy&xiiii Tpetpo/iivuf xai Ifnan^o/iilvwr'] iir" 
airrjs (line 17). 

' Arohiv fiir Papyrusforschung, 3, p. 174jg (a Leipzig papyrus, published, 
by L. Hitteis), Bpiifiu xal liuwl^u eiyevws xal yvtitrlas u: vibv yrfiaiov koI <pv<riK6v, 
" I will feed and clothe him nobly and properly as a proper and natural son."" 
The passage is noted by van Herwerden in the Melanges Nicole, Genfeve, 1905,. 
p. 250. 

' CrreeTt Lexicon of the Soman and JByzanime Periods, New York and 
Leipzig, 1888. 

' Foemander 31, 15. 

' Pointed out by Mayser, p. 404 j of. also J. H. Moulton, The Expositor,. 
February 1903, p. 117. 

' Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la BibUathique imperiale. Vol. 18„ 
Part 2, Palis, 1865, p. 320. The papyrus, which is of a very vulgar type, has 
dTrrderai (sio^. 

' The date 114 in Mayser is an error. The text is mutilated, but /Hj5o/*t5s; 
irTavo/Uvw is clear. 


word he quotes pagan inscriptions ^ containing it. A 
new ^ and earlier reference is supplied by a military 
■diploma (imperial letter) on papyrus, written at Alex- 
andria (?) in the time of Hadrian.' 

(9) In defiance of the note " Inscr." appended to 
the word, irepia-cre.ia, "abundance, superfluity, sur- 
plus," also figures in Thayer's " Biblical " list. But 
the Thesaurus Graecae Linguae had already cited 
an inscription of the Imperial period from Sparta,* 
which is also referred to by Grimm and Thayer. 
A further addition is now an inscription of 329 a.d. 
from Rakhl^ in Syria.^ 

(10) " Never in profane writers," say Grimm ^ and 
others of di'ao-TaTow, " I incite to tumult, stir up 
to sedition, unsettle," another Septuagint and New 
Testament word which at first sight certainly has 
nothing Biblical or Christian about it, but seems al- 
together profane. Cremer,'^ however, gives from the 
Thesaurus Graecae Linguae at least one quotation 
from Harpocration, a profane virriter of the fourth' 

' Inscription from DauUs, 118 A.D., Corpus Insoriptionum &raeoarum, 
No. 1732a37 ; and the edict of Diocletian, Corpus Inscriptionum Zatina/rum, 
ni. p. 836. 

' Of. van Herwerden, Lexicon, p. 260. 

' Berliner Grieohlsche Urkunden, No. liOsif. It is now so dated by 
Wilcken, Hermes, 37 (1902) p. 81 fi. The Emperor writes oi>x ^''efa rod SoKciy 
jix airois ivXoyeiv, which Theodor Mommsen (in Bnins, Pontes iieris Romani° 
pp. 381, 382) translated "non ut iis imputare videar" (as I was informed by 
Wilcken, in a letter dated Leipzig, 5 May, 1907). The Emperor wishes to 
avoid the appearance of imposing an obligation, or debUmg the soldiers with 
the benefioium granted them, 

' Corpus Inscriptionum Oraecarum, No. 1378, concerning a certain president 
■of the games, who " handed over to the city the whole surplus of the money 
belonging to the presidents of the games," rijv Tepi,j(Tdav airoSoiis iraaav tj iriXei 
rCir iyiavodenKuv xpvf^''''^''- 

* Bulletin de Oorrespondance Hellgnique, 21 (1897) p. 65, ix ■wepuraHv (sie), 
^' from superfluous (money)." The inscription, which was no new discovery in 

1897, is not Christian. 

• Cla/Bis,' p. 28. ' 'Page 515. 

' Eduard Norden (letter, Gross-Lichterfelde W., 3 September, 1908) dates 
Sarpocration earlier. 


century a.d. But, as Nageli'^ pointed out, we find 
at any rate the word efavao-TaTow in a fragment of 
an anthology written about 100 b.c. (Tebtunis Papyri 
No. 2). Still more valuable is a passage in an 
Egyptian letter of 4 August, 41 a.d. (Berliner 
Griechische Papyrusurkunden,No. lOTOaof.^), where the 
word probably means the same as in the bad boy's 
letter among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (No. llOjo), of 
the second or third century a.d.^ The Paris Magical 
Papyrus 1.2243f. also contains the word, in a good 
sense.* We are therefore undoubtedly entitled to 
reckon it as part of the general secular vocabulary. 

I now add to these examples 22 words (nos. 11- 
32) which in some way or other approach more 
closely to the domain of rehgion and ethics, so that 
it was at least not impossible from the first that they 
might be peculiar to the Bible. 

(11) a<f>L\dpyvpQs, "not covetous" (1 Tim. iii. 3 ; 
Hebrews xiii. 5), has been stated to be a " New 
Testament word only," and one might suppose it to 
be really Christian when one remembers how the 
Gospel is always antagonistic to mammon. But 
Nageli® has already quoted (besides certain authors 
that had been overlooked) an inscription from Athens 
36-35 B.c.,^ another from Istropolis, first century b.c.,'' 

' Page 48. ^ /tr; iva ivanTaTibarii ■iiiids. 

' AvaaraToi fie, " he drives me out of my senses," Nageli, p. 47 ; or " he upsets 
me," Blass, Hermes, 34 (1899) p. 314. Of. Chapter III. below, letter No. 14 
(p. 188). For both papyri cf. also Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, 
March 1908, p. 268 f. 

• Edited by C. Wessely, Denfcsohriften der philosophisoh-historisohen Classe 
der Kaiserliohen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vol. 36, Wien, 1888, 
p. 101 : X'"P^t ''P'^ "^7^1 ^* (rxirovs elXri/i/ji^ri, dvaffTaroOffa v&vra, " hail I sacred 
radiance, thou that art taken out of darkness and causest all things to rise 
up." Cf. Nageli, p. 47. 

5 Page 31. 

' Michel, Mecueil, No. 973^ = Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 732j5. 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge,'' No. 325,,. 



and a papyrus (Oxyrhynchus No. 33 verso, IIu) 
of the second century a.d., in which either a^iKap- 
yvpos or d<l>i\apyvpQ}? occurs.^ To these may now 
be added a still earlier quotation for the adjective 
from an inscription at Priene (No. ISTs), probably of 
the second century B.C. 

(12) 7r\i7po<^o/3ew, " 1 carry full, make full, fulfil," 
is according to Cremer^ found "only in Biblical 
and patristic Greek ; elsewhere not tiU very late." 
The earliest example hitherto discovered is in the 
Septuagint, Ecclesiastes viii. 11. The papyri,' how- 
ever, show that this word, which occurs frequently 
in the New Testament, was at any rate used in 
Egypt at the same period and immediately after- 
wards. The earliest passages are : a letter from 
the Fayum, now at Berlin, first century a.d. * ; an 
Amherst papyrus, of 124 a.d. * ; a Berlin papyrus, 
of 139 A.D.*; an Oxyrhynchus papyrus, of the end 
of the second century a.d.'' If these Egyptian 
quotations are not sufficient, the astrologer Vettius 
Valens of Antioch, a contemporary of the last two, 

' It is there said of the Emperor Antoninus Pius: t4 fiiv vparov ^[v] 
0iXiffo0os, t6 Seiirepov &(f>CK6.pyvpos, t[6] Tplrov ^iKAyaBos, " he was first a friend 
of wisdom, secondly not a friend of money, thirdly a friend of the good." As 
in 1 Tim. iii. 3, the word occurs in a sort of list of virtues. 

' »Page 882. 

» Cf. Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 28 (1903) col. 693; J. H. Moulton, The Expositor, 
February 1903, p. 118 f., December 1903, p. 436 ; Nageli, p. 60 ; Lietzmann on 
Eomans iv. 21 (the Wessely papyrus there cited is identical with the London 
papyrus afterwards referred to). Lietzmann states the semasiological problem 

* Berliner Griechische XJrkundeu No. 665 IIj, irXijpoipopyiaa airiv. The 
meaning is not certain ; either " I have convinced him," or " paid him." 

' The Amherst Papyri No. 66 II,,, iva Si Kal vvv irkripoipopijau), " but in order 
to settle the matter thoroughly." Moulton gives a similar explanation of the 
passage ; the editors, Grenfell and Hunt, " but now also to give you full 

" Berliner Griechische 0rkunden No. 7i7 1^, o;[T]oi}/i[e]j'o[s] 7r[X]7)[p]o0ope[t]>', 
" asking them to settle the matter (?)." 

' Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 509,q, TU7[xii]i'u ii reirXTipoipopriiiivos rots 60«Xo- 
Ijiipms fwi, " I am completely satisfied with regard to what was owing to me." 


can help to increase the statistics.^ Considering the 
undoubted rarity of the word a later quotation in 
a " profane " context is also worthy of note : in an 
inscription of the eighth century a.d. from Nicaea in 
Bithynia^ the verb is used of the completion of a 

(13) a-vvavTi,\a[jL^dvofiav, "I take interest in (a 
thing) along with (others), take my share in, assist 
jointly," was first known to occur in the Septuagint. 
It occurs twice also in the New Testament, Luke x. 
40 and Romans viii. 26, in the latter passage 
referring to the mediation of the Holy Spirit. 
Though it is used by the pre-Christian writer 
Diodorus of Sicily, and by Josephus,' it is included 
by Thayer in his "Biblical" list, with the note 
" Inscr." appended, but without any quotation from 
inscriptions. We can trace the word, however, 
throughout the whole extent of the Hellenistic 
world of the Mediterranean. An inscription of the 
year 270 b.c. on the retaining-wall of the temple of 
Apollo at Delphi* construes it with the genitive, an 
inscription of Pergamum between 263 and 241 b.c' 
with eis, a papyrus letter from Hibeh in Egypt 
circa 238 B.C. with rrepL^ Then comes the Septuagint, 

' I. p. 43ij of Kroll's edition. Before the book ■ appeared the editor very 
kindly sent me the passage in Greek and German (letter dated Munster, 
6 April, 1907) : iva 5idi rijs xaraxv^ Tain-qi ri ttjs avvoxfjs (rxvi'^a irX'T/pot/joprid^, " in 
order that the o-woxi? (predicted by the whole constellation) may fulfil itself 
(come to fulfilment) in this way." 

* Athenische Mitteilungen, 24 (1899) p. 406, iT'\iipul4i6pri](Ta> (sid), as read 
and interpreted by A. Koerte. 

' Awtt. IV. viii. 4 ; the word is, however, struck out in this passage by Niese. 

' Dittenberger, Syllogef No. 250^, i!wavTCKi\^e(sdai tG>v tt/l wdXei avii<pep6vTuiv, 
" to help in things profitable unto the city." Van Herwerden's citation of this 
inscription, Zexicon, p. 780, is misleading. 

' Frankel, No. ISjer., rois els ravra <rvvayri\a/ipavoi/.ivms, " those helping in 

" The Hibeh Papyri No. 82i7ff., koXws oiv [w']of^ffas (rvpav[Ti]\la]fipav6iiei'os 
irpoBiiuiK Tepl tQv els ravra avyKvpbvrwi/, " thou wilt therefore do well to take 
part zealously in the things relating thereto." 


with various constructions ^ ; the Sicilian follows, with 
the genitive,^ whUe St. Luke and St. Paul use the 
word with the dative. These statistics are absolutely 
comprehensive geographically. Thus the word which, 
in the absence of proper evidence, was consigned to 
isolation, but which is in fact known to have been 
used at Delphi, in Asia, in Egypt, and by a Sicilian 
writer, might now serve as a school example of the 
unity and uniformity of the international Greek 

(14) St. Paul in Philippians ii. 30 testifies of 
Epaphroditus that he had for the sake of the work 
of Christ come nigh unto death, having daringly 
exposed himself^ The verb irapa/SoXevo/Aai, "I 
expose myself," here used in the aorist participle, 
has not been found in other writers, and was even 
in ancient times such a rare word that some copyists 
have altered it.* Nevertheless, though placed by 
Thayer in his list, it is not a " Biblical " peculiarity. 
An inscription at Olbia on the Black Sea, probably of 
the 2nd cent. a.d.,^ in honour of a certain Carzoazus 

' Sometimes with the genitive, sometimes with the dative ; cf. Hatch and 
Eedpath's Concordance. ^ Diod. xiv. 8. 

' Literally r " having offered himself with his soul." [The R.V. has " hazard- 
ing his life." Te.] 

' Instead of irapa^oKevirinevoi they write irapa^ovKevffinevo^. [=: the A.V. 
" not regarding his life." Tr.] 

' Insoriptiones Artiiquae Orae Septentrionalis Ponti Muieini Graeeae et 
Latmae ed. Basilius Latyschev, I., Petropoli, 1885, No. 21^^, dXXi koX (jifxpO 
trepdrui/ 777s IfiapTvpitBri Tois iwip ipMas KivSivovs P^ixP'' ^ePaiTTav (rvfi/mxlg. 
■irapap6\evffdfi,fvos. Latyschev considers this a very obscure text (p. 54). I find 
not the least difficulty, if fi^i (^tos !) irepdrav is right : " but also to the ends 
of the world it was witnessed of him that in the interests of friendship he had 
exposed himself to dangers as an advocate in (legal) strife (by taking his clients' 
causes even) up to emperors." irapa^dXevcrA/jievos governs the accusative rois 
KivSivovs (cf. irapa^AWea-Bat rbv kIvSwov, Thuc. iii. 14, quoted in Pape's 
Lexicon) and the dative ffvp-ixaxit (of. rjj ^vx% in the passage from St. Paul, 
and ■^vxv kbX (r[i6]/taTi Trapa,paW6/i^os, inscription from the coast of the Black 
Sea; circa 48 A.D., Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 342jj; literary passages in 
Thayer, «.■». irapa^oKeioiJuu, and J. H. Monlton, Grammar, I. p. 64). Hence, 
" by his advocacy he exposed himself to dangers." The whole passage has a 


the son of Attalus, employs exactly the same parti- 
ciple in a similar context, and helps to elucidate the 
passage in Philippians, while itself receiving illumina- 
tion from the New Testament. 

(15) In 1 Tim. ii. 12 the woman is forbidden to 
" have dominion over " the man. The word avOevTeo) 
appears here for the first time in Greek literature, 
nor does it occur again except in ecclesiastical 
writers. Of course, therefore, it has been described 
as " only Biblical and patristic." ^ Now, as Nageli ^ 
points out, the word is twice used ' in a non-literary 
text, viz. a Christian papyrus letter of the 6th or 
7th cent, a.d.. No. 103 among the Berlin documents. 
A superficial observer will say this is a new proof 
that the verb is Christian. As a matter of fact its 
occurrence in the letter is much rather an indication 
of its popular character. And all doubt is removed 
by Moeris,* one of the late lexicographers among 
the ancients, who gives avToSLKetv as the Attic and 
avdevrelv as the corresponding Hellenistic word (in 
the KoLvij). In the same way Thomas Magister® 
warns against the use of avdevTelv as vulgar, and 
recommends avToZiKeiv instead.* It is therefore 

very "New Testament" ring. The ancient phrase iripara Trjs yrjs is also 
familiar to us from the Greek Bible. For the actual hyperbola itself cf. for 
instance the amiable exaggeration in Eomans i. 8 and the emphatic ex- 
pressions in Eomans xv. 19. The use of /mpTvpionai is quite as in the New- 
Testament (Weue BibelstVidien, p. 93 ; Bible Studies, p. 265). — In the Theo- 
logische Rundschau, 9 (1906) p. 223, I quoted the inscription from van 
Herwerden, Lexicon, p. 622, unfortunately with his error in the reference : 
II. (instead of L). 

' Grimm, Thayer, etc., s.v. ^ Page 49. 

' The precise meaning is not completely clear, but the general idea of " being 
master " seems to me to be decisive in this passage also. 

* Page 58 of J. Pierson's edition, quoted by Nageli, p. 50. 

" Page 18, 8, of Ritschl's edition, quoted by Nageli, p. 49 f. This is not the 
medieval lexicographer's own wisdom, but borrowed from his predecessors. 

• Cf. Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, October 1908, p. 374 ; and Jean 
Psichari, Efendi, MxtraU de» MHmiges de pkilologie et de UngvMique offerts a 
M. LovAs Hamet, Paris, 1908, p. 412 fE. 


probably a mere statistical accident that aidevrim 
has not been met with earlier than in the New 
Testament ; any day may bring us an ancient 
" profane " quotation. 

(16) Siarayij, "disposition, ordinance" (Ezra iv. 
11 ; Rom. xiii. 2 ; Acts vii. 53) is said to be "purely" 
Biblical and patristic : the " Greeks " use instead 
Siara^is.^ Nevertheless E. A. Sophocles ^ noted the 
word in Ruphus of Ephesus,' a physician who 
flourished about 100 a.d. (so that he may well have 
been a contemporary of the physician St. Luke). 
That this pagan physician should have picked up 
the word from the Christians is, I think, more im- 
probable than that St. Paul and the Christian 
physician St. Luke knew it from its use among 
their medical contemporaries — if it was not known 
to them naturally apart from that. And in all 
probability it was so known to them. The word 
is not merely a technical term in medicine : the 
astrologer Vettius Valens of Antioch, of the 2nd 
cent. A.D., also uses it.* 

The inscriptions and papyri add their hght. 
Nageli * quotes inscriptions from Sardis ° (Roman 
period), and Pergamum ^ (date uncertain), and docu- 

• Grimm and Thayer, s.v. Thayer certainly gives the note " Inscr." on p. 694. 

^ Cheek Zexicon of the Roman and Bytantvne Periods. 

' In the Collectamsa Medieinalia of the physician Oribasius, edited by 
Bussemaker and Daremberg, I. p. 5446f., liinav ik xpj) tJ e^ef^s SioToyJ rb <rw/m 
ivaKoiiiteiv ds riiv Wiav ri^tv, "it is only necessary by a subsequent ordered 
way of living to brir^ back the body into proper order." The French editors 
translate regime, i.e. " diet." The word has here already undergone a change 
of meaning. 

' Catalogus Codiowm Astrologorwm Chraecorwm, V. 2 p. 51,5, '^''.rh, riiv toB 
KeKeiovTos SLaTayfp>, " according to the disposition of the person commanding." 
I am indebted for the reference to W. KjoU (letter, MUnster, 5 April, 1907). 

' Page 38. 

" Corpus Inseriptiori'Um Graeoarum, No. 3465, a votive inscription, iK t^s 

' Np. 358, a votive inscription, [^k] Sioto7^s. 


merits from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri dated re- 
spectively 335(?) A.D. 1 and 362 a.d.^ To these we 
may add (beginning with the latest) a letter of 
343-344(?) A.D.^ from the Fa5run]i, an inscription from 
Irbid in the Hauran (238-239 a.d.),* an inscription 
from Hierapohs^ (2nd? cent. a.d.), and an inscription 
from Oenoanda in the south-west of Asia Minor 
(Imperial period).' Of still greater importance, if 
rightly restored, is an inscription from Antiphellus '' 
in Lycia (2nd ? cent, a.d.), in which G. Hirschfeld 
(rightly, I think) explains rdv deicov Bialjaylav as 
" imperial ordinances." ^ This would be a most exact 
parallel to the celebrated passage in the Epistle to the 
Romans, which also refers to the Roman authorities. 
As we review the statistics ' we repeat the ob- 

' No. 92, order for payment of wine, ix 5iaTa7('5!). 

' No. 93, order for payment of corn, ix SiaTayrjs. From these four passages 
we may conclude that ix Siarayiis, " by order," was a regular formula. 

' Faydmi lovms <mA their Papyri, No. 133, Iva, r'i]v Staroyfji' rq^ rpiyris 
irm^iTTjTai (I take this as equivalent to iroc^iri^rt), " that ye may make disposi- 
tion concerning the harvest." 

' American Journal of Archaeology, 10 (1906) p. 290, Siarayrj *X. Oirfipov 
(or [2Ie]ou^p!)ii) ix Sriiwalov, "by order of Flavius Verus (or Severus) from 
public money." 

= Altertiimer von Sierwpolii [see above, p. 12, n. 6], p. 100, No. 78, ef tis 
irapcl T^ji' StaraT^jj' tt)!/ ijt,'))v iroi'^n, " if any one doeth contrary to my ordinance." 
Walther Judeich {ibid. p. 110) points out that in this and related inscriptions 
from Asia Minor SiaTd<r<rc<r6(u, didra^is, dtiray/ta, and, SiaroYiJ display the 
specialised meaning of " determine by testamentary disposition," etc., just like 
SiaTldea$iu, etc. This use was also known to St. Paul: his iTtSiaT&<rtTe<r8ai 
(Gal. iii. 15) also refers to a testament. 

' Meisen im siidwestliohen Kleinanen [see above, p. 14, n. 1], 11. p. 180, 
No. 231, Kwrh ri)v SeiyrfK&ireos (He) Siaray^v, " by order of Seigelasis." 

' Corpus Inscriptionvm Graecarum, No. 4300,, with the reading on 
p. 1128 : \iir]eiBvi>oi ia-rai tois Sii, tuv 6eCav Sio[To7]ci)c iipuriUvoi.%, " He will be 
liable to the (penalties) appointed by the divine ordinances." 

* Further details in Judeich, who doesi not accept this explanation, but 
thinks rather of some private document left by the owner of the tomb. But in 
that case how is Bdav to be explained ? dem, " divine," has in countless 
passages the meaning of "imperial," just like the Latin dieinus. See 
Chapter IV. below, p. 351. 

• Ludwig Mitteis (letter, Leipzig, 21 May, 1908) refers me further to the 
Leipzig Papyrus No. 97 HIj, X,5, XIH,, XVIIj, (in his edition). 


servation already hinted above : we see unity and 
uniformity prevailing in the use of words wherever 
the international language was written. A supposed 
Biblical word can be traced in the Imperial period 
from one stage to another through the countries 
bordering on the Mediterranean: from Pergamum, 
Sardis, Ephesus, Hierapolis, by way of Oenoanda, 
Lycia, and Cilicia (St. Paul), to Antioch, the 
Hauran, and the little country towns of Egypt. 
And in Egypt we found what is at present the 
oldest example of all, the Septuagint Ezra iv. 11. 

(17) Tj-jOcoTOTOKos, "firstborn," occurs frequently in 
the Septuagint and in important religious utterances 
of the New Testament. Thayer quotes it twice 
from the Anthology, but nevertheless leaves it in his 
list of " Biblical " words. It is of some importance 
therefore to find in Trachonitis, on the undated 
tomb of a pagan " high priest " and " friend of the 
gods," a metrical inscription, mutilated indeed, but 
plainly showing this word.^ It is noteworthy that 
we have here, as in the Anthology, a poetical text. 
Another metrical epitaph from Rome,^ Christian, and 
not much later than the second (?) or third century, 
uses the word with reference to a firstborn " sun- 
child " {i.e. child born on a Sunday) who died at the 
age of two years. 

(18) crvyK\r}pov6fio^, "fellow-heir," is "unknown 
in profane Greek " according to Cremer.' He has 
just quoted Philo the Jew, who uses the word once, 

' Epigrammata Qraeca ex lapidibus collecta ed. Georgius Kaibel, Berolini, 
1878, No. 460, ipeis y&p el/u vpurarSKUii ix T€\e6[wv ?] (= reXerluvJ ?), "for I am 
a priest by the rites of the firstborn." Kaibel thinks that in the family of the 
deceased the firstborn always exercised the office of priest. Cf . van Herwerden, 
Lexicon, p. 710. [Cf. Pindar, 01, x. (xi.) 63, iv irpwrcyiDif reXerf irapiaToii . . . 
Moipau Tb.] 

" Corpus Imcriptionvm Braecarum, No. 9727 = Epigra/mmaia ed. Kaibel, 
No. 730. " 'Page 584. 


so we must suppose Cremer to be as broad-minded 
as the early Church in approximating Philo to 
Christianity. But even in quite pagan surroundings 
we encounter this word, the origin of which in the 
legal terminology of the day is patent on the face 
of it. In an Ephesian inscription of the Imperial 
period^ one C. Umphuleius Bassus mentions "Eutychis 
as coheir." If this woman was his wife, as is probable, 
this example is a specially fine illustration of 
1 Peter iii. 7, where the wife is honoured as being 
(spiritually) a fellow-heir with her husband. 

(19) The word Si/caio/cpicria "is found only in 
ecclesiastical and Bibhcal Greek, and that rarely," 
says Cremer. This time it is interesting to notice 
that Cremer ^ has tolerantly admitted to Biblical (or 
ecclesiastical?) precincts the Testaments of the 
Twelve Patriarchs, in which the word twice occurs.^ 
Now on the fourth of the month Phamenoth, in the 
year 303 a.d., a certain Aurelius Demetrius Nilus, 
a former arch-priest of Arsinoe and undoubtedly a 
heathen, caused a petition to be written (for he 
could not write himself*!) to the Praefect of Egypt, 
Clodius Culcianus, who is known to us from the 
time of the Diocletian persecution. The petitioner 
appealed confidently, " being of good hope to obtain 
righteous judgment from thy Magnificence." ^ In 
this passage the word StKaioKpicria stands reaUy for 
that which is the outcome of just judgment, viz. " a 

' The Collection of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Musewm, III. 
No. 633 (p. 249), Wnvxlim .... <i\\ri\KKi\i)ovli\juov o^]oD. 

2 "Page 339. 

' Test. Levi 3 and 15. 

* Of. line 11 of the petition, Sii rh iyfidiiiiaTiv /jie eXrcu, " because I cannot 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 71 I^, eCeXms Cm Trjs dwi toO a-ov /ieyieovs 
SiKotoKpurlas rvyav. The passage is referred to by Nageli, p. 48, and by 
lietzmann on Romans ii. 5. The scribe who drew up this petition knew the 
word from official nsage, not from the Bible. 


just sentence." In Romans ii. 5 the radical meaning, 
"just judgment,"^ suffices, and Cremer's discrimina- 
tion between "judgment which does justice" and 
" judgment in accordance with justice " is doubtless 
too fine. 

(20) The word Kar-qyoip, "accuser," is probably 
still regarded by most commentators on Rev. xii. 10 
as a Biblical speciality traceable to a Hebrew ^ or 
Aramaic ^ adaptation of the Greek KaTjjyopo's. The 
question why Karijyo/oos is always used elsewhere in 
the New Testament is either not raised at all or 
tacitly answered by reference to the supposed 
strongly Hebrew character of the Revelation. We 
find the word, however, in a very vulgar magical 
formula in a British Museum papyrus (No. 124) of 
the fourth or fifth century a.d., where it refers not 
to the devil, as in the Biblical passage, but to human 
enemies.* The papyrus itself is late ; the formula, 
however, to judge by the analogy of other magical 
prescriptions, is older ; and, in spite of the strongly 
syncretic character of the papyrus, there is nothing 
which points to a Jewish or Christian origin for 
this formula.^ The only thing that can be ascertained 

' Of. 2 Thess. i. 5, ttjs Sixatas Kplaeas ; John vii. 24, riiv StKalav Kplnv xplvare. 

' W. Bousset on the passage in Meyer's Commentary, XVI,* Gbttingen, 1906, 
p. 342. 

' P. W. Schmiedel, in his new edition of Winer's Grammar, Gottingen, 1894, 
§8, 13 (p. 85 f.). 

' OreeTi Papyri in the British Museum, ed. F. G. Kenyon (Vol. I.), London, 
1893, p. 122, SvfUjK&TOXOv wpis viivTas iroiwV iroiet yi,p irpbs ^Spois koI Kar'/iyopas 
Kal XjiffTuv Kcd ^d^ovs Kcd tpavrafffioi/s dveipuv, "a charm to bind the senses, 
effective against everybody : for it works against enemies and accusers and 
robbers and terrors and dream-spectres." SviioKdroxov, which often occurs as a 
title to magical prescriptions, I take (in the sense which Karix'' often has, 
cf. Chapter IV below, p. 308, n. 5) to mean that the enemy's senses will be 
paralysed. [Eduard Norden, letter, Gross-Lichterfelde W., 3 September, 1908, 
makes the excellent suggestion to delete the third kcU. The translation will 
then be " fears of robbers " instead of " robbers and terrors."] 

' The formula next following has been influenced by Judaeo-Christian 
conceptions of angels. 


with certainty is the vulgar character of the formula, 
and the word Karijywp is also — as in the vulgar Greek 
Revelation of St. John — a vulgarism. 

The philologists who have discussed the word 
recently ^ are doubtless on the right track : KaTyjyoip is 
a vulgar " back formation " from the genitive plural 
KaT7]y6p(i)v, on the analogy of prjTopcov. Nearly all 
of them^ quote, among numerous vulgar formations 
of the same kind, the word Sta/cwf ( = StaKovos), and 
refer to the Charta Borgiana (191-192 a.d.) for the 
earliest example of its use. The phenomenon in 
general is very old,' and in this special case a much 
earlier example can be quoted : a papyrus letter from 
the Fayum, dated 4 December, 75 a.d., and now 
at Berlin, has the dative rwt Sia/cwi'i.* It is therefore 
impossible to call SiaKtov " late," as Blass even did ^ ; 
or at least it is impossible in a New Testament 
Grammar, for this example is no doubt older than 
the Revelation. 

(21) With regard to Kara/cpto-is, "condemnation," 
Cremer * expresses himself somewhat more cautiously : 
"a word that appears to be found only in Biblical 
and ecclesiastical Greek." The appearance, however, 
was deceptive. Christianity had no more need of a 

' Wilhelm Sohmid, Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1895, p. 42; Woohen- 
sohrift fiir klassisohe Philologie, 16 (1899) col. 541 f ., 18 (1901) col. 602 ; 
A. Thumb, Die griechiiclie Spraehe im Zeitalter des Sellenismua, p. 126 ; 
P. Wendland, Byzantinisohe Zeitschrift, 11 (1902) p. 189; L. Badermacher, 
Kheinisches Museum fiii Philologie, New Series 57 (1902) p. 148 ; Orammatik 
des neutestamenilichen GriecMseh (Prospectus), p. 5f. 

^ Even Schmiedel, in spite of his other statement. 

' Wilhelm Sohmid, Wochenschrift fttr klassisohe Philologie, 18 (1901) 
col. 602. 

* Berliner Grieohisohe Urkunden, No. 597,. The iota adscript in the article 
and elsewhere in the letter shows that the writer wished to be elegant ; he 
no doubt considered the word SiAkwk to be good Greek. 

= Grammatik des JVeutestamentUohen GrieeMseh,' p. 30; [Kng trans ' 
p. 29, n. 2]. 

« »Page 610. 


special word for "condemnation"^ than it has call 
to be jealous in claiming the sole possession of words 
for "a curse," "to curse," and "cursed."^ The 
" Biblical" word^ /caTaK/jicrts is found more than once 
in the astrologer Vettius Valens of Antioch (second 
century a.d.).* 

(22) dvaOefiaTiCoi, " I curse," literally " I devote 
(to the lower world)"® — there was surely no reason for 
the Bible reUgion to be particularly proud of having 
invented such a word, and yet according to Cremer * 
and other lexicographers it is found " only in BibUcal 
and ecclesiastical Greek." Among the ancient lead 
tablets published and discussed by Richard Wiinsch 
in the preface to his collection of Attic cursing- 
tablets ' we find, however, one of the first or second 
century a.d., a heathen curse from Megara, now in 
the Royal Museum at Berhn, which throws a new 
light on the words dvadeixa and dvadefiaToCoJ. At 
the end of the whole formula there is a separate line 
of large letters® making up the word ANE@EMA, 
which is obviously a form of conclusion — " curse ! " 

• John iii. 17. 

' Cf. the following nos. 22, 23. 

' Thayer, in his list. 

' I am indebted for the references to the kindness of W. Kroll (letter dated 
Miinster, 5 April, 1907) : Catalogus CoAiewm, Astrologorum Graeoonim,, V. 2, 
p. 7834, here Valens speaks irepl Be(rfjuiv koX amioxSiv koI i.iroKpi(j>av irfiayiiaTav 
KoX KwraKpiaeas Kal dri/ilas, " about bonds and distresses and secret difficulties 
and condemnation and dishonour"; and in KroH's new edition, I. II735, ho 
speaks of (pBoviKoi (Kroll : (poviKcU ?) KaraKpiaas, " condemnations for envy 
(murder ?)." 

" For what follows cf. Zeitsohrift fiir die neutestamentllche Wissenschaft, 2 
(1901) p. 342. 

'■ "Page 1003. 

' Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum, Appendix (==Inscriptiones Graecae, III. 
2) p. xiii f., and now accessible also in Wiinsch's Anti^e FluchtafeVn, p. i S. 

' Cf. the facsimile, loe. eit. p. xiii. ave9cyiia=di'iiSe/*a. The weakening of 
the accented a, to e is probably not unique. Nageli, p. 49, following a hint of 
Wackernagel's, looks upon it as an example of vulgar Greek misplaced 
extension of the augment to a derivative; so also Wunsoh, Antike Flueh- 
tafeln, p. 5. 


We find further in line 5 f. dvade[iaTLC[piji}ev avTov<s, 
in line 8 f. toutovs ava0e[ia[TC]t,ofiev, and on the back, 
line 8 f., avadefiaTilQoiLev tovto[us] : " we curse them," 
three times over. We must therefore say that 
avddeft^a, meaning "curse," belonged also to the 
pagan vocabulary, and that ava9e[ji,aTit,o) wiU have to 
be removed from the list of merely " Biblical " or 
"ecclesiastical" words. We may still reckon with 
the possibility that the verb was first coined by 
Greek Jews : technical expressions in magic are of all 
places the most likely in which to assume that the 
international language had been influenced by Judaism. 
(23) The classical Greek for " cursed " is aparos, 
cTTctpaTos, or Karaparos. In the Septuagint we find 
KardpaTos rarely, but a fourth word, eTrt/caTapaTos, 
occurs frequently. As it was met with elsewhere 
" only " in the New Testament, it has been reckoned 
among the words that are " only " Biblical and 
ecclesiastical,^ — as though Christianity had any need 
to plume itself on the possession of this special word. 
But why the secular words were not sufficient, and 
how far a " Biblical " distinction was secured by the 
€13-1 prefixed, these questions have never been raised. 
From the point of view of historical grammar the 
correct thing would have been to assume iTTLKaTapdofiai 
and OTi/cttTcipaTos to be instances of those double 
compounds or " decomposites " ^ which become more 
and more common in later Greek, and to regard eiri, 
therefore, as a late Greek, not a Biblical, feature. 
We are therefore not surprised to find the adjective 
used in a pagan inscription from Euboea^ of the 

' Grimm and Thayer, s.v. 

' Cf. Wilhelm Sohmid, Ber Atticismus, IV. p. 708 fE. ; Mayser, Grcmmatik 
der griecUiokm Papyri, p. 497 ff. ; Arnold Steubing, Der paulinisehe Begriff 
" Christusleiden," a Heidelberg Dissertation, Darmstadt, 1905, p. 9. 

' E0ij/ie/)is ApxaioXayiKri, 1892, ool. 173 fiE.; Dittenberger, Sylloge,'' No. 891. 
Cf. above, p. 20, n. 1. 


second century a.d. ^ The inscription must be 
pagan, for the Erinyes, Charis, and Hygeia are 
named in it as goddesses. If it should be thought, 
on account of the Septuagint formulae occurring in 
this inscription,^ that Septuagint influence might 
account for iviKaToipaTo?,^ we can refer to a pagan 
inscription from Halicarnassus, of the second or third 
century a.d., now in the British Museum.* 

(24) veKpoo), " I make dead, mortify," is one of 
the " Biblical " words that Thayer even in his list 
secularises by reference to Plutarch, the Anthology, 
and inscriptions. In his article on the word he adds 
to these Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, but he no- 
where actually cites an inscription. He may have 
been thinking of the metrical epitaph of one M. 
AureUus Eutychus (Athens, Roman period),* which 
employs the phrase " body deceased " or " dead 
body" and thus furnishes an excellent parallel to 
Rom. iv. 19. 

(25) auaCdo), "I live again, revive," which occurs 
several times in the New Testament, is regarded by 

' "EirLKardparos Sffris /iij tjj^lSoiTO Kari, rivSe rbv xapov ToCSe ToC Ipyov, " cursed 
whoever doth not spare this place with this work" (viz. a monument on a 
tomb). ' Cf . above, p. 20, n. 1. 

' Nageli, who quotes this inscription (p. 60), is so cautious as to make this 
suggestion. It must be noted, however, that the extremely numerous 
iiriKaTdparm passages in the Septuagint never employ the formula of the 
inscription, iiriKardpaTos Sans. If the word were taken over from the 
Septuagint we should expect in this case the construction also to be 

■* Corpus Insenptionvm Oraecarmn, No. 2664 = The Collection of Ancient 
Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, IV. 1, No. 918, el rts 5^ (the same 
collocation as in 1 Cor. viii. 2, Cod. 37 ; frequent also in the inscriptions ' 
of Hlerapolis, cf. Altertumer von Sierapolis, p. 201) ^mxeip^n 'KWon i,pai if 
\v<rai aiirb, ijroi iiriKaripaTos rats Tpoyeypafiiiivats ipats, " but if any one shall 
attempt to take away a stone or to destroy the monument, let him be cursed 
with the imprecations written above." 

' Tnscriptiones Graecae, III. 2, No. 1355, 'XvBpiaire . . . liii /iov rapiXOys o-fi/ice 
t4 vev[e']Kp[(a]iii,hov, "man 1 pass not (unheeding) by my body dead 1 " Cf. van 
Herwerden, Lexicon, p. 555. 


Grimm, Thayer,^ and Cremer as specifically a New 
Testament and ecclesiastical word. Cremer^ even 
explains why Christianity had to invent the word : 
" the dvajSiwvat of profane Greek does not suit the 
soteriological sense of the Biblical C^ij." 

Without raising the question why, if that were so, 
it was not necessary to find a substitute for the 
secular substantive ^onj, we are able in the first place 
to quote from Nicander,' a poet of the second 
century b.c., at least the verb ava^mcD, which the 
lexicons describe as a poetical form of ava£,d(o. We 
find the Biblical word, however, in Sotion,* a narrator 
of marvels who possibly belongs to the first century 
A.D.,^ and again in Artemidorus,* an interpreter of 
dreams in the second century a.d. A Cretan inscrip- 
tion ' of unascertained date, which moreover requires 
restoration, was referred to by Nageli.* In the fifth 
century we stiU find the word avaidcn used in a 

' In his list of "Biblical" words Thayer adds to dxafdu the note " Inscr." — 
another of these remarkable contradictions in so exact a writer. 

2 »Page 464. 

' Fragment in Athenaeus, IV. 11, 133 D, ffepnols S' iK/iaveeTa-at dyafiioi/o-' 
iSdrea-nv, " Till that the warm rains fall, and moistened therewith they revive 

* IIapaSo^oypa(poi Scri^tores Reru/m Mirabilivm Graeci ed. Antonius Wester- 
mann, Brunsvigae, 1839, p. 138, wapi, KiXtdf ipaalv iSaros eXval n (riffTti/ia, 4ti i^ 
ri, Trewiynha twii 6piiiuv koX TiSK &\6iyav l^ipuv ifi^pax^vra &va^v, " they say 
that in the neighbourhood of Cilicia there is a body of water, in which 
strangled birds and irrational creatures, if plunged therein, come to life." 

* Westermann, Praefatio (p. L). 

' iv. 82, according to the reading of the Codex Laurentianus, preferred by 
the editor, J. G. ReifE, Leipzig, 1805. Here again the subject is the return to 
life of one supposed to be dead. R. Heroher inserts the reading im^ioSv in 
the text of his edition, Leipzig, 1864. 

' Corpus Inscriptionvm Oraeoamm, No. 2566 = SammVwng der griecMsohen 
BialeU-InscJvriften, edited by H. CoUitz and F. Bechtel, III. 2, Gottingen 
1905, No. 4959, edited by F. Blass. A woman, 'ApxovUa, fulfils a vow to- 
Artemis which she had made " on coming to life again," dKofu^a. The text is 
not quite clear. Hiller von Gaertriugen pointed out to me (letter, Berlin 
Meya\o(rippaTov [i.e., the Saturday before Easter, 30 March], 1907) that Blass 
has forgotten to print eixAv at the end. « Page 47. 


physical sense, as in the above-quoted passages, by 
the Christian writer Nilus ^ ; and the late lexico- 
graphers of antiquity, quoted by Nageli, now supple- 
mented by the newly discovered fragment of Photius,^ 
give it as a synonym for dvaj8ttocrKOju,ai and dva/Sidw. 

Our conclusion, therefore, must be this : dva^do), " I 
live again," is an international Greek word, and its 
radical (physical) meaning, which can be traced 
through many centuries, has been hallowed and given 
an ethical content by Christianity. Cremer's theory 
would reverse all this, and we should have to deplore 
the profanation of a " Christian " word. 

(26) evirpoa-aireco, " I look well, make a fair show " 
(Gal. vi. 12 ; and as a variant in the hexaplaric text ' 
of Psalm cxl. [cxli.J 6), is described by Cremer* as " not 
discoverable in profane Greek." We find it, how- 
ever, in the letter of the Egyptian Polemon to his 
" brother" Menches (114 b.c.),^ clearly used no longer 
in the physical sense,^ but (as by St. Paul) with 

' In Photius, Bihliotheoa, p. SlSjj (quoted from the Tliemurus Oraecae 
lAnguae), ol ykp k6kkoi. fierd, Tr/y Ik (TT^i^eus viKpaaai xal (t>8opi,v dxoffflfft, " for the 
seeds come to life again after death and destruction by decay." 

^ Ber Anfang des Lexieons des Photios, edited by E. Eeitzenstein, Leipzig 
and Berlin, 1907, p. 107 : Avaptiia-KeaBcu.' dva^v. 

' OrigenU Heasaplorum quae superswnt cono. F. Field, t. II., Oxonii, 1875, 
p. 297, notes an dXXos who has eiTpoirdnrlaB'riaav and the variant eiTpi>cribTrri(rav. 
The Thesaurus Graecae lAnguae (with false reference to " Proverb.") describes 
fiirpo<r(aTl<r$ri(rav, with doubtful correctness, as a contamination. 

< =Page 765. 

' The Tebtunis Papyri No. 19i2f., Siras eiTrpo(Tiinrwp,ev, " so that we may 
make a fair appearance." J. H. Moulton, The Expositor, February 1903, 
p. 114, called attention to this passage. 

' The physical meaning is of course the original one. We may imagine it 
so used by physicians. W. Pape's HandwoHerbuch (2nd ed., 4th reprint, 
Braunschweig, 1866, p. 982) s.v. refers to " Galen.," i.e. the physician Galen of 
the 2nd century A.D., but this is only by a cheerful misunderstanding of some 
preceding dictionary, probably Passow's, which rightly refers to " ep. Gal. 6, 12." 
" Gal." it is true does also stand for " Galen " in Passow. Thus the Epistle to 
the Galatians has been turned into an epistle of Galen's ! There is some right 
instinct after all in the mistake, for the word was probably a medical expressiop. 
to begin with. 


reference to winning the good opinion of one's 

(27) When St. Paul preached as a missionary in 
Athens he was suspected by Stoic and Epicurean 
opponents of being " a setter forth of strange gods : 
because he preached Jesus and Anastasis." The 
word KarayyeXeus, " proclaimer, herald, setter 
forth," here placed in the mouth of the pagan philo- 
sophers, is according to Cremer^ and others only 
found in this passage " and in ecclesiastical Greek." 
Even if no quotations were forthcoming from pro- 
fane sources, this isolation of the word would for 
intrinsic reasons be highly questionable ; for although 
the sentence containing it is in the Bible, it is not 
a " Biblical " but a pagan utterance, emanating from 
the pagan opposition, and of its authenticity Cremer 
can have had no doubt. A less hasty examination 
would have led to the recognition of the word as 
pagan on internal grounds. As a matter of fact it 
is found on a marble stele recording a decree of the 
Mytilenians in honour of the Emperor Augustus 
(between 27 and 11 b.c.).^ 

(28) In the First Epistle of St. Peter v. 3 f. we 
read': "... making yourselves ensamples to the flock. 
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall 
receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away." 

The "chief Shepherd" of course is Jesus; the 
corresponding Greek word, ap-)(Liroifi7jv, is according 
to Cremer* unknown except in this passage. One 
is tempted to regard it as a Christian invention ; 

' »Page 32. 

' Dittenberger, Orientit Graeei Inicrvptiones Seleotae, No. 456,„ = Imorip. 
Hones Qraecas, XII. 2, No. SSi,,, icoTOTyeXeis twv -irpilrruv Hx)SiitriJ(_iiivuv 
iyiivuv], " heralds of the first games that shall be held." 

» On this subject of. Die ChristUohe Welt, 18 (1904) col. 77 f. 

' 'Page 906. 



some people, I daresay, detect a sort of official ring 
in the word. It is possible, however, to show that 
the apostle, far from inventing the word, was merely- 
borrowing. A slip of wood (Figure 7) that once 
hung round the neck of an Egyptian mummy, of 
the Roman period, has been found with the following 
Greek inscription,^ designed to establish the identity 
of the deceased : — 

IlXrjvK veco- 
repoi apxfJrot- 

aev ir&v . . . 

Plenis the younger, chief 
shepherd's. Lived . . . years. 

The genitive here, " chief shepherd's," is probably 
a mere slip in writing, but the occurrence of such a 
slip is of some interest. Had the deceased been a 
person of distinction the inscription would have been 
more carefuUy executed. This label was hurriedly 
written for a man of the people, for an Egyptian 
peasant who had served as overseer of, let us say, 
two or three shepherds, or perhaps even half a 
dozen.^ If a reading of Carl Wessely's ' may be 
trusted, we have the same title again on another 
mummy-label ; * but I beUeve from the facsimile 
that the word is not reaUy there. ^ The one instance, 
however, is enough : it shows " chief shepherd " to 
have been a title in genuine use among the people. 
Moreover, the Thesaurus Graecae Linguaehsid already 

' Of. E. Le Blant, Eevue AroMologique, 28 (1874) p. 249 ; the facsimile (see 
onr Fig. 7) is in Plate 23, fig. 14. I do not know where the tablet now is. 

' Wilcken (note on proof-sheets of the first edition of this book) thinks he 
may have been the master of a guild of shepherds ; for something similar see 
Wilcken, Oitraka, I. p. 332. 

* JIfittheilimgen a%» der Sammhmg der Papyrus Emlisnog Raimr, V., 
Wien, 1892, p. 17. Wessely reads d.j>xnrolii(Tiv). 

* Also in Le Blant, p. 248 ; facsimile, Plate 21, fig. 9. 

» Ludwig Mitteis (letter, Leipzig, 21 May, 1908) refers me to the Leipzig 
Papynis No. 97 XI, (in his edition). 

Fig. 7. — Wooden Mummy-label from Egypt, Imperial Period. 
By permission of Ernest Leroux, of Paris. 

[p. 98 


quoted the word from the Testaments of the Twelve 
Patriarchs. ^ The Christians called their Saviour 
"the chief Shepherd," but this was not crowning 
Him with jewelled diadem of gold : it was more like 
plaiting a wreath of simple green leaves to adorn His 

(29) irpoa-KvvrjTijs, "a worshipper," is according 
to Cremer^ "unknown in pre-Christian Greek, and 
very rare afterwards, e.g. in inscriptions." Which 
inscriptions are meant, is not stated. The plural 
" inscriptions " is no doubt traceable to Passow or 
Pape S.V., where " Inscr." certainly means " Inscrip- 
tiones," though the plural must not be presse,d. As 
a matter of fact the only inscription of which these 
lexicographers could have had knowledge must have 
been one of the third century a.d. from Baetocaece, 
near Apamea in Sjrria, reprinted from Chandler in 
the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum (No. 44745i), 
so that Cremer's statement would seem to be about 

In the addenda,^ however, he informs us that " the 
word was not entirely unknown in pre-Christian 
Greek," and quotes an inscription (Waddington 
3, 2720a) from the same place in Syria containing a 
decree * drawn up in the interests of " the worshippers 
that come up " * and communicated to the Emperor 

' The occurrence of the word has no bearing on the question of the Christian 
origin of this work. — Symmachus uses the word in his version of 2 Kings 
iii- 4.— At the present day the Chfilingas, the hereditary leaders of the pastoral 
Vlaohs, are called dpx'Tof/ij/v by the Greeks (K. Baedeker, Greece,' Leipzig, 
1905, p. xlix). How old this title is, I cannot say. — The remark of the lexico- 
grapher Hesychius, that among the Cretans 'ApxiXXas was the name for the 
ipxtrolnjif, shows that the word was in use at any rate in the time of Hesychius 

' "Page 616. 

» Page 1120. 

* Cremer says " petition." 

' Tots inoSffei (sic ; Cremer has inoSin) vpoaKwrfraXi, 


This inscription, however, is identical with the one 
referred to above; it has been repeatedly discussed 
of late,^ Though carved in the third century this 
example of the use of Trpoa-Kvvr]Trj<; is really pre- 
Christian ; the inscription in fact includes older 
documents : a letter of a King Antiochus, and the 
old decree that was sent to Augustus. 

Other examples are at present unknown to me. 
I know no foundation for van Herwerden's state- 
ment,^ that the word is frequent in inscriptions and 

(30) vpoa-KapTiprfa-LS, "perseverance, constancy," 
which the lexicons hitherto have quoted only from 
Eph. vi. 18, is strangely enough described by Cremer ' 
not as Biblical but as a " late " Greek word. This 
is because he here follows Pape, who marks the word 
as " late " though he certainly can have known no 
example of its use outside the Bible. Thayer includes 
the word in his "Biblical" list. It can now be 
quoted from two Jewish manumissions recorded in 
inscriptions at Panticapaeum on the Black Sea, one * 
belonging to the year 81 a.d., and the other' nearly 
as old. These inscriptions, 1 admit, will not do more 
than disprove the supposed " Biblical " peculiarity of 

' Mff. Dittenberger, Orientis Graed Imcriptiones Selectae, No. 262 ; Hans 
Lucas, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 14 (1905) p. 21 ff. 

« Lexieon, p. 702. 

s 'Page 570. 

* Imeriptiones Antipiae Orae Septentriotudis Ponti Euxini Ghraeeae et 
Latmae ed. Basilius Latyscher, II., Petropoli, 1890, No. 52ij-i6, x^P^s 's 'r[ii]y 
wpo[(r]euxV Swjreios re xal 7r/3o<rKo[pTep]^(rewSj " besides reverence and constancy 
towards the place of prayer" {ffmrela, which generally means "flattery," is 
here used in the good sense of " reverence "). Sohiirer, GeiehicMe desjiidisoJien 
Volhet, III.' p. 53, points to the analogy between this inscription and the 
usage, striking by its frequency in the New Testament, of combining the verb 
vpo(rKafiTep4w with vpoaevxi (meaning " prayer " : it could hardly be " place of 
prayer "). 

' Op. oit. No. 53, with the same formula as in No. 52, which we may there- 
fore take to have been a standing expression. 


the word. For the present there is still the possibility 
that 7TpocrKapTipqari<i was a Jewish coinage of the 

(31) The Greek word used for the veil or curtain 
that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of 
Hohes in the Temple at Jerusalem is KaTaireTaa-fia, 
literally " that which is spread out downwards, that 
which hangs down." That this word should be found 
in Thayer's " Biblical " hst is not in itself surprising, 
for the idea before us is a technical one, connected 
with the apparatus of worship. The occurrence of 
the word in the Epistle of Aristeas, in Philo and 
Josephus, would not affect the case, for these writers 
knew the word from the Septuagint. Nevertheless 
it cannot be that we have here to do with a Biblical 
or Judaeo-Christian ^ speciality, created by the Sep- 
tuagint, An inscription from Samos, 346-5 b.c.,^ 
cataloguing the furniture of the temple of Hera, 
furnishes an example which is a century earlier, and 
particularly valuable because it shows the word 
employed in a religious context and incidentally 
corrects the description " Alexandrian " ' with which 
the lexicons had mechanically labelled it. 

(32) iiTLa-vvayoiyTJ, found only in 2 Mace. ii. 7, 
2 Thess. ii. 1, and Heb. x. 25, where it denotes 
various senses of the word " assembly," is according 
to Cremer* "unknown in profane Greek." As 
(rvpayotyq itself was originally a profane word, one 

' That is the opinion of Kennedy, Sources, p. 113. 

= In Otto HofEmann, Die GriecUsehen DialeUe, III., Gijttingen, 1898, p. 73 
(from Ath. Mitt. 7, p. 367 ff. ; of. van Herwerden, Lexicon, pp. 433, 717) : 
Karair(Taaim rijs rpairi^ris, " table-cover." 

' Even Thayer says, s.v. Kwrairh-aaiui, that it is an Alexandrian Greek word, 
for vfhich " other " Greeks used irapairiTaa-iia. But in the identical inventory 
mentioned above, containing the Karwir^raaiui t?s Tpairi^vh we find wapare- 
riaiuvm. noted immediately afterwards. The two words therefore do not 

' 'Page 79. 


is inclined to ask why imavvaycayij should be different, 
especially as the profane a-wayoryrj became among 
the Jews (and occasionally among the Christians) 
the technical expression for the (assembled) congre- 
gation and the house in which they met. As a 
matter of fact a mere statistical accident was the 
cause of error here, and a second accident has very 
happily corrected the first. In the island of Syme, 
off the coast of Caria, there was lately discovered, 
built into the altar of the chapel of St. Michael 
Tharrinos, the upper portion of a stele inscribed with 
a decree in honour of a deserving citizen.^ The 
writing is considered to be not later than 100 B.C., 
so that the inscription is probably older than the 
Second Book of Maccabees. By the kind permission 
of the Imperial Austrian Archaeological Institute 
I am able to reproduce here (Figure 8) a facsimile 
of the whole stele (including the portion previously 

On the upper fragment of this stele we find our 
word in the general meaning of " collection " ^ ; the 
difference between it and the common crvvaycoyij is 
scarcely greater than between, say, the English 
" collecting " and " collecting together " ' : the longer 
Greek word was probably more to the taste of the 
later period. 

The stone which has established the secular 
character of this Bible word — the heathen stone of 
Syme built into the altar of the Christian chapel of 

' Jahreshefte des Osterreichlschen Arohaologischen Institutes in Wien, 7 
(1904) p. 81 fE. (with facsimile, p. 84) = ImcriptioTiea Graeoae, XII. 3 Suppl. 
Ko. 1270. 

' Lines 11 and 12: tSs Sk liriffwayu/yas tov di.a<t>6pov yivonivas 5ro\i/x/»o>'/oi;, 
" the collection, however, of the (sum to defray) expenses proving a matter of 
long time" (the translation was sent me by the editor, Hiller von Qaertringen, 
in a letter, Berlin, 18 July, 1905). 

* [In German Sauimlung and AmaiiimVung. Xb.] 

Fig. 8. — Stele with decree of honour from Syme, 
Now in the chapel of St. Michael Tharrinos, Syme. 
of the Imperial Austrian Archaeological Institute. 

2nd cent. B.C. 
By permission 

[p 102 


St. Michael — may be taken as symbolical. It wiU 
remind us that in the vocabulary of our sacred Book 
there is embedded material derived from the language 
of the surrounding world. 

Even without the stone we could have learnt the 
special lesson, for the Thesaurus Graecae Linguae 
had already registered the word in the geographer 
Ptolemy and in the title of the third book of 
Artemidorus, the interpreter of dreams, both of the 
2nd century a.d.. and later in Proclus. Such " post- 
Christian " " late " passages, however, generally fail 
to impress the followers of Cramer's method, and 
therefore the pre-Christian, and (if importance be 
attached to the book) pre-Maccabean inscription is 
very welcome. 

In the above examples it has often happened that 
the secularisation of a " Biblical " word has been 
effected by more than one solitary quotation, e.g. 
from a papyrus ; again and again we have seen such 
words occurring outside the Bible in secular uses 
both in Egypt and also in Asia Minor. ^ This 
uniformity (or we might say, these real Koivrj 
characteristics) in the vocabulary of the Kolv^ — an 
observation of some importance to our total estimate 
of international Greek — may now in conclusion re- 
ceive further illustration from certain new discoveries 
relating to the curious word Xoyei'a (Xoyta),^ "a 

' Another typical example is aironh-piov, used in Luke xii, 42 for " a portion 
of com." In SiielstacUen, p. 156 [Bible StuAies, p. 158], I^was only able to 
produce one Egyptian example, of which Mayser, Orammatik der grieeUsohm 
Papyri, p. 431, afterwards took the same view as I did. We now find it in an 
Opramoas inscrii)tion of 149 a.d. at Ehodiapolis in Lycia, with the spelling 
ffeiTOfiirptor (Heberdey, Opramwm, p. 60, xix Aj) ; its exact meaning here is 
not clear to me. 

^ This second spelling has also been found now in the new texts, e.g. in the 
Thebes ostracon given on p. 105 below. 


(charitable) collection," which I have already dealt 
with elsewhere.^ 

This word, occurring " only " in 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2, 
has been given a false etymology ^ and has sometimes 
even been regarded as an invention of St. Paul's.^ 
The etymology, however, is now definitely ascertained : 
it comes from Xoyeuw, " I collect," a verb which, Uke 
the derivate, was found for the first time compara- 
tively recently in papyri, ostraca, and inscriptions* 
fi"om Egj^t and elsewhere. We find it used chiefly 
of religious ^ collections for a god, a temple, etc., just 
as St. Paul uses it of his collection of money* for 
the " saints " at Jerusalem. Out of the large number 
of new examples from Egypt "^ I select an ostracon 
which comes very near in date to the First Epistle 
to the Corinthians. It was written on 4 August, 
63 A.D., discovered at Thebes in Egypt,' and is 
now in the Berlin Museum.' For the photograph 

' Bibelstvdien, p. 139 fE.; Neue Bibelstudien, p. 46 f. [Bible Studies, 
pp. 142, 219]. 
' From X^M. 
■ Of. Bibelstudien, p. 139 [Bible Studies, p. 142]. 

• Cf. A. Wilhelm, Athenisohe Mitteilungen, 23 (1898) p. 416 f.; Wiloken, 
Griechisohe Oslraka, 1. p. 255, etc. 

' As shown especially by the ostraca, Wilcken, GHechische Ostraka, I. 
p. 253 ff. 

• A most grotesque theory was put forward as late as 1897 by Linke in the 
Festschrift fur Professor D. Fricke (of. Theol. Literaturblatt, 19 [1898] col. 
121). He suggests that the " great logia " in the field of St. Paul's missionary 
labours was not a collection of money but a determination of the forms of 
doctrine- and liturgical formulations that had arisen within the churches 
through special gifts of the Spirit. St. Paul, he thinks, wishes to obtain the 
results of the thought and prayer, revelations and spiritual hymns of each 
single church in the course of an ecclesiastical year. The parallel to the 
modern German system of church returns is so close that one wonders almost 
at the omission of statistics of mixed marriages I 

' Cf. especially Wilcken, Grieehisehe Ostraha, I. p. 253 fE.; J. H. Moulton, 
The Expositor, February 1903, p. 116, December 1903, p. 434; Mayser, 
Orammatik der griechisohen Papyri, p. 417. 

' Wilcken, Grieehisehe Ostraka, II. No. 413. 

• No. 4317. 

Fia. 9. — Ostracon, Thebes, 4 August, 63 a.d. Receipt for Isis Collection. Now in the 
Berlin Museum. By permission of the Directors of the Royal Museums. 

[p. 106 


(Figure 9) I am indebted to the kind offices of 
WUhelm Schubart. 
The little document ^ runs as follows : — 

Wepafwvvi,'; IIeKvaio<; 

pa aov S * S oj8o ' rriv Xoyiav 

"lo-tSos -n-epl T&v Stj/wa-ioov 
L * ivdrov Nepavoi; tov Kvplov 
Meaopi] m. 

PsenamuHis, the son of Pekysis, 
phennesis,' to the homologos * 
Pibuchis, the son of Pateesis, 
greeting. I have received from 
thee 4 drachmae 1 obol, being 
the collection of Isis on behalf 
of the public works. In the 
year nine of Nero the lord,* 
Mesore 11th. 

Beyond the numerous instances of the use of the 
word in Egypt, the only witness for the word in 
Asia Minor was St. Paul. Inscriptions now forth- 
coming from Asia Minor are therefore a very welcome 
addition to the statistics. A marble tablet of about 
the first century a.d., found at Smyrna,^" enumerates 
among the votive gifts presented by a benefactor 

' For explanation of the contents of. the commentary in Wiloken, Grieckische 
OstraUa, n. p. 253 £E., and Archiv, 4, p. 267. 
" i.e. o/to(Xii7^)). 
' i.e. x(oipei>'). 

• i.e. Spax/ias. 

• i.e. i^oK(hv). 
' i.e. Itovs. 

' Hellenised Egyptian title, " priest of Isis." 

' Homologos is a technical term for a country labourer working under a 
contract. [Cf. the labourers in the vineyard, Matt. xx. and 1 Cor. ix. 7.] The 
same man contributed in the same year and on the same day to another 
collection called \oryela tov Beov, " collection of the god," Wilcken, Griechisehe 
Ostraka, II. No. 414 ; the sum was 4 drachmae 2 obols. Other receipts for 
contributions by the same man in other years are extant (ostraca Nos. 403, 
412, 415, 416, 417, 418, 420). As a rule they are for 4 drachmae and a few 
obols. They are interesting evidence of the extent of the financial claims 
made upon persons of no great means for religious purposes in the period 
which saw the rise of Christianity. 

• On this expression of. Chapter IV. below, p. 353 ff. 

'• Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 583j8, K\eiy Ktxpva-uiUvriv koX iiiire^iaanivriv 
(the meaning of this word is doubtful) irpis rijv Xoy^av Qsic) koX woiiiriiv ruv 
OeSm. The reference seems to be to a procession on the occasion of which 
money contributions were expected from the spectators. 


of the god and the city "a gilded and . . . key 
for the collection and procession of the gods." In 
this instance, not far removed in date from the First 
Epistle to the Corinthians, the word is used in a 
sacred connexion, but the oldest example from 
Asia Minor hitherto known no doubt refers to 
secular matters.^ A limestone slab, found at 
Magnesia on the Maeander, and now at Berlin, is 
inscribed with the award of the people of Magnesia 
in a dispute between Hierapytna and Itanus in the 
year 138 or 132 b.c.^ By the kind permission of 
the Museum authorities at Berlin I am enabled to 
give here a reduced reproduction of Kern's facsimile ' 
(Fig. 10). Taken together with the poor Egyptian 
potsherd given as a receipt to the country labourer 
Pibuchis, this official inscription from Magnesia (a 
duplicate of which has been found in Crete *) shows, 
like the inscription from Smyrna, that the remarkable 
word used by St. Paul in corresponding with the 
Corinthian Christians was common to all grades of 
the international language. 

A considerable number of " Biblical " words having 
thus been brought into proper historical alignment, 
it is scarcely necessary to enter into proofs that 
many words hitherto described as " rare " in the New 
Testament are authenticated by the new texts.* 

> The sentence is mutilated. G. Thieme, Die Insohriften von Magnesia am 
Mdander und das Neue Teatavient, p. 17, who noted the inscription and fully 
appreciated its importance as a proof of the unity of the Koiki}, thinks it refers 
to the gathering together of supplies of com for warlike purposes. 

' Die InseTvriften, von Magnesia am Mdander, edited by Otto Kern, 
No. 105,2 = Dittenberger, Sylloge,^ No. 929,00, Xo7f'""s « on-nKots, " collections 
of corn." 

' Plate VI. No. 105. 

* But unfortunately mutilated, with loss of the \ayela passage. 

' Numerous references in my Sibelstudien and N&ue Bibelstudien {=-Siile 
Studies) and in the works of J. H. Moulton and Thieme. 







Fig. 10.— Limestone Slab, Magnesia on the Maeander, 138 or 132 B.C. Judicial Award by 
the Magnesians, lines 52-80. Now in the Berlin Museum. By permission of the Directors 
of the Royal Museums. 

[p. 106 


The harvest here is of course equally great in pro- 
portion, and obtained with less trouble than in the 
first group. 

(b) As regards the meanings of words our know- 
ledge has also been largely increased. I have already 
remarked (p. 73 above) that the influence of Primitive 
Christianity was far more powerful to transform 
words, i.e. to create new meanings, than to create 
new words. But here again there has often been 
great exaggeration in the statement of the facts. 
Cremer especially had a tendency to increase as 
much as possible the number of specifically " Biblical " 
or " New Testament " meanings of words common 
to aU Greek ; and in exegetical literature, when 
dogmatic positions of the schools are to be defended, 
a favourite device is to assume " Bibhcal " or " New 
Testament " meanings. The texts that are now 
forthcoming from the world contemporary with the 
New Testament serve, however, to generalise not a 
few of these specialities, e.g. the use of dSeX^os 
("brother") for the members of a community, 
avaarpi^oiiai (" I live ") and dva<TTpo<f>y] (" manner 
of life"; "conversation," A.V.) in an ethical sense,^ 
dvTihrjiJixjjis ("help "), XcLTovpyeco (" I act in the public 
service ") and XeiTovpyia (" public service ") in a 
sacral sense, iinOvfjLrjTrjg (" desiring ") in a bad sense, 
Xovo) (" I wash ") in a sacral sense, irdpoi.Ko^ 
(" sojourner "), etc. etc.^ 

But there are other ways in which not unfrequently 
the familiar words of the New Testament acquire 
a new light. A new choice of meanings presents 
itself, changing, it may be, the inner meaning of 

' Cf. Chapter IV. below, p. 315. 

' Beferences in Biielstudien and Nieue Bibelstudien (= Bible Stiidies). 


the sacred text more or less decidedly, disclosing^ 
the manifold interpretations of the gospel that were 
possible to the men of old, illuminating in both 
directions, backward and forward, the history of the 
meaning of words. 

Let us look at a few examples. 

(1) When Jesus sent forth His apostles for the 
first time He said to them ^ (Matt. x. 8fP.): — 

"Freely ye received, freely give. Get you no 
gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses {margin: 
girdles) : no wallet for your journey ..." (RV.). 

Or, as it is reported by St. Mark (vi. 8) : — 

" He charged them that they should take nothing 
for their journey, save a staff only ; no bread, no 
wallet, no money {margin: brass) in their purse 
{margin: girdle)" {R.V.). 

And thus in St. Luke (ix. 3 ; cf x. 4 and xxii. 
35 f ) :— 

" Take nothing for your journey, neither staff, nor 
wallet, nor bread, nor money. ..." (R.V.) 

One of the characteristic utterances of Jesus has 
here been handed down, not without variations, but 
stiU in such form that the original can be discerned 
beneath them : the apostles were told to take with 
them for their journey only the barest necessaries,^ 
among which was to be reckoned neither money 
nor bread. According to St. Matthew's report they 
were further forbidden even to earn money on their 
way, as they might have done by working miracles 
of healing, etc. The meaning of the " waUet " ( A.V. 
"scrip") has seldom been questioned, because it 
seems so obvious ; most commentators probably think 

' Cf . Die Christliche Welt, 17 (1903) col. 242 f. 

' The one point on which the authorities leave us in doubt is whether the 
stafE was one of them. 


of it as a travelling-bag,^ or, more precisely defined, 
as a bread-bag. The word in the original Greek, 
ITT] pa, is capable of either meaning, according to 
circumstances. In the context " travelling-bag " 
would do very well ; " bread-bag " not so well, being 
superfluous after the mention of "bread," and 
tautology seems out of place in these brief, pointed 
commands given by Jesus. But there is a special 
meaning, suggested by one of the monuments, which 
suits the context at least as well as the more general 
sense of " bag " or " traveUing-bag." The monument 
in question was erected in the Roman Imperial 
period at Kefr-Hauar in Syria by a person who calls 
himself, in the Greek inscription, a " slave " of the 
Syrian goddess. " Sent by the lady," as he says 
himself, this heathen apostle tells of the journeys 
on which he went begging for the " lady " and 
boasts triumphantly that "each journey brought in 
seventy bags."^ The word here employed is ir^pa. 
Of course it has nothing to do with well-filled 
provision-bags for the journey : it clearly means the 
beggar's coUecting-bag.^ The same special meaning 

' In that case construing " wallet " with " for your journey." 
° Published by Ch. Fossey, Bulletin de Correspoudance Hell6nique, 21 (1897) 
p.60, &(y)o<t>6pri(re iK&arq iyur/^ irripas o. — Eberhard Nestle (postcard, Maulbronn, 
13 March, 1903) called my attention to the panning observation in the 
Didascalia = Const. Apost. 8, 6, about the itinerant widows, who were so ready 
to receive that they were not so much xvpm as Trjpcu (which we may perhaps 
imitate in Ei^lish by saying that though spouse-less they were by no means 
pouch-less). Hermann Diels writes to me from Berlin W., 22 July, 1908: 
" Does not the beggar's bag form part of the equipment of the mendicant friar 
of antiquity, i.e. the Cynic ? Crates the Cynic wrote a poem called n^pa 
(fragm. in my Poetae pTiilosophi, fr. 4, p. 218)." 

' [Wallet, then, is just the right word in English, Cf. Shakespeare, Troilus 
.and Cressida, III. iii. 145, " Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back, Wherein 
he puts alms for oblivion." A writ«r in Notes and Queries, 7th Ser. , iv. 78, 
points out that the triangular piece of stuff, like a bag, which hangs from 
behind the left shoulder of a junior barrister's gown was originally a wallet 
to receive fees. — There is an illustration of the ancient wallet in Anthony 
Eich's Diet. ofBomam and Oreei Antiquities, s.v. " Pera." Tb.] 


would make excellent sense in our text, particularly 
in St. Matthew's version : thfere is to be no earning, 
and also no begging of money. With this possible 
explanation of the word TTtjpa the divine simpUcity 
of Jesus stands out afresh against the background 
suggested by the heathen inscription. While Chris- 
tianity was still young the beggar-priest was making 
his rounds in the land of Syria on behalf of the 
national goddess. The caravan conveying the pious 
robber's booty to the shrine lengthens as he passes 
from village to village, and assuredly the lady will 
not forget her slave. In the same age and country 
One who had not where to lay His head sent forth 
His apostles, saying : — 

"Freely ye received, freely give. Get you no 
gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses : no wallet 
for your journey." 

(2) Among the sayings of our Lord we find thrice 
repeated the phrase " They have their reward," e.g. 
in Matt. vi. 2 of the hypocrites who sound a trumpet 
before them when they do their alms. The Greek 
word translated "have "(A.V.), or preferably (with 
the Revisers) " have received," is 0,77 e^w, " T have or 
receive in full," " 1 have got." Reward is spoken of 
in the passage immediately preceding, but there the 
simple verb exw is used. I have long held ^ that the 
word direxo) is explainable by the papyri and ostraca. 
In countless instances we find the word in these 
texts ^ in a meaning that suits admirably our Lord's 
sajdng about rewards, viz. " I have received," a 

' Neve Bibehtudien, p. 56 ; Bible Studies, p. 229. Of. also Monlton and 
Milligan, The Expositor, July 1908, p. 91. 

^ The importance of this seeming trifle, both intrinsically and from the 
point of view of historical philology, has recently received due recognition 
from Heinrich Srman, who discussed the subject in an article on " Die ' Habe '- 
Quittung bei den Grieohen," Archiv fur Papyrusf orschung, 1, p. 77 ff. His objec- 
tions to the translation " I have received " are waived by A. Thumb, Prinzi- 




Fig. 11. — OstracoD, Thebes, 32-33 a.d. Receipt for Alien Tax. Now in the Author's colleol 


technical expression regularly employed in drawing 
up a receipt. Compare, for instance, two ostraca 
from Thebes figured in this book, one (p. 152 below) 
a receipt for rent in the Ptolemaic period, the other 
(p. 105 above) a receipt for the Isis collection, 4 
August, 63 A.D. Still nearer in date to the gospel 
passage is an ostracon of very vulgar type in my 
collection, a receipt for alien tax paid at Thebes, 
32-33 A.D., of which I here give a full-sized repro- 
duction (Figure 11). 

With the help of Ulrich Wilcken the ostracon was 
thus deciphered : — 

Ila/jLapK 'EpfjboSmpev 
'A^&<!. 'A'irexo)v"'° irapa aov 
T6Xe9°"=i iiri^evov SSyvd 
Kal ^aS)ij)i S ^ y8. L^ tO 
Ti^epiov Kaiaapoi 

Pamaris the son of Hermodorus 
to Abos. I have receiving (sic) 
from thee alien tax* (for the 
months) Thoyth and Phaophi 
2 drachmae. In the year 19 of 
Tiberius Caesar Augustus. 

This technical airexoi, however, was in use not only 
in Egypt but elsewhere in the Hellenistic world, as 
shown by inscriptions at Delphi recording manu- 
missions at the beginning ^ and end of the second 
century B.C., and again in the first century a.d.^ An 

pienf ragen der Koine-Forschung, Neue Jahrbiicher f iir das klassische Altertum, 
1906, p. 255 : " iir4xov<n is, by reason of the nature of the action expressed, 
identical with IXo/Sok or Iffxov, i.e. it is an aorist-present." Cf. also J. H. 
Moulton, Grammar,'' p. 247. Further references in Mayser, Orammatik der 
grieeh. Papyri, p. 487, and especially Wiloken, ffriechische OstraJia, I. p. 86. 

' = tAos, " toll, custom," as in Matt. xvii. 25, Bom. xiii. 7. 

' i.e. SpaxfAs. 

' i.e. irovs. 

* On this alien tax cf. Wiloken, Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, 1, p. 153, 
where other quotations for the word iirl^evos, " stranger," are given besides 
Clement of Alexandria L 977 A, which is the only example in B. A. Sophocles' 
Lexicon. At present this ostracon is the earliest evidence of the tax. 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge^ No. 845,, rkv n/iiv dir^ei, "the price he hath 
received." Cf. p. 327 below. 

• Bulletin de Correspondance Hellfeique, 22 (1898), e.g. p. 58, xoi tIu/ rei/tav 
iirix" irairav, "and I have received the whole price"; first century A.D., 
e.g. pp. 116, 120. 


inscription from Orchomenus of the third or fourth 
century B.c.^ shows the expression in use even then 
in the Aeolic dialect ; it is close in date to the oldest 
papyrus reference I know of, viz. Hibeh Papyri 
No. 975 (279-278 or 282-281 B.C.). 

I think we may say, therefore, that this technical 
meaning of dwixco, which must have been known to 
every Greek-speaking person, down to the meanest 
labourer, apphes well to the stern text about the 
h5rpocrites : " they have received their reward in 
fuU," i.e. it is as though they had already given a 
receipt, and they have absolutely no further claim to 
reward. This added touch of quiet irony makes the 
text more life-like and pointed. From the same 
technical use J. de Zwaan ^ has attempted to explain 
the enigmatical dnexeu in Mark xiv. 41, and it is not 
improbable that St. Paul is alluding to it in a gently 
humorous way in PhU. iv. 18.' 

(3) The first scattered congregations of Greek- 
speaking Christians up and down the Roman Empire 
spoke of themselves as a " (convened) assembly " ; at 
first each single congregation was so called, and after- 
wards the whole body of Christians everywhere was 
spoken of collectively as " the (convened) assembly." 
That is the most literal translation of the Greek 
word e/c/cXrjo-ta.* This self-bestowed name rested 
on the certain conviction that God had separated 
from the world His " saints " in Christ, and had 
" called " or " convened " them to an assembly, which 

' The Colleetion of Ancient Cheek Inscriptions in the British Museum, 
Part II. No. 158„, dir^i vivra, "he hath received all things." 

» The Text and Exegesis of Mark xiv. 41, and the Papyri, The Expositor, 
December 1905, p. 459 fE. He takes the betrayer, who is mentioned immediately 
in the next verse, to be the subject. 

' As a matter of fact, dir^x" is frequently combined with Tr&vTa in receipts ; 
cf. the Orchomenus inscription quoted in the last note but one. 

* For what follows cf . Die Christliche Welt, 18 (1904) col. 200 1 


was " God's assembly," " God's muster," because God 
was the convener.^ 

It is one of the characteristic but little considered 
facts in the history of the early Christian missions 
that the Latin-speaking people of the West, to 
whom Christianity came, did not translate the Greek 
word iKKkqaia (as they did many other technical 
terms) but simply borrowed it. Why was this ? 
There was no lack of words for " assembly " in Latin, 
and as a matter of fact contio or comitia was often 
translated by iKKKrja-ia.^ There must have been some 
special reason for borrowing the Greek word, and 
it lay doubtless in the subtle feeling that Latin 
possessed no word exactly equivalent to the Greek 
eKKkrjcrta. There is evidence of this feeling even in 
non-Christian usage. Pliny the Younger employs 
the Latinised word ecclesia in one of his letters to 
Trajan.^ Some years ago a bilingual inscription of 
the year 103-4 a.d.* came to light at Ephesus, which 
furnishes a still more interesting example. It was 
found in the theatre, the building so familiar to 
readers of Acts xix., and now, thanks to the labours 
of the Austrian archaeologists, one of the best pre- 
served ruins ia the ancient city,* A distinguished 

' I pointed out in Die Cliristliche Welt, 13 (1899) ool. 701, that an excellent 
analogy to the Primitive Christian use of iKK\ijtria is afforded by the members 
of so-called " Pietistic" congregations in the valley of the Dill (a tributary of 
the Labn, a little below Giessen) in their use of the word " Yersammlung " for 
" congregation." [Cf. the English " meeting " and " meeting-house " as used 
by Quakers and Methodists. Tb.] 

2 David Magie, Be Romanorum iwrU publici sacriqve vocahulis soUemnibus 
m ffraecum sermonem conversis, Lipsiae, 1905, p. 17 etc. (see the index). 

" Epist. X. Ill, "bule et ecclesia consentiente." /SouXiJ has also been 

* Jahreshefte des Osterreichisohen Aichaologischen Institutes, 2 (1899), 
Supplement p. 43 f . 

' I shall never forget the sunny Eaater morning (15 April, 1906) when 
Dr. Keil showed us the theatre. In the jointing of the white marble seats 
blood-red anemones were blossoming high among the luxuriant greenery of the 
Anatolian spring. 



Roman official, C. Vibius Salutaris, had presented a 
silver image of Diana (we are reminded at once of 
the silver shrines of Diana made by Demetrius, Acts 
xix. 24) and other statues "that they might be set up 
in every e/cKXT/o-ta in the theatre upon the pedestals."^ 
The parallel Latin text has, ita ut \o7n]n{i e]cclesia 
supra bases ponerentur. The Greek word was there- 
fore simply transcribed. Here we have a truly 
classical example (classical in its age and in its origin) 
of the instinctive feeling of Latin speakers of the 
West which afterwards showed itself among the 
Western Christians: iKKhrja-ia cannot be translated, 
it must be taken over. 

The word which thus penetrated into the West is 
one of the indeUble marks of the origin of Christi- 
anity. Just as the words amen, abba, etc. are the 
Semitic birthmarks, so the word ecclesia (and many 
others besides) points for all time to the fact that the 
beginnings of Christianity must be sought also in the 
Greek East. 

(4) For the word afiaprcoXos, " sinning, sinful," 
Cremer^ quotes but one passage from Aristotle and 
one from Plutarch : " besides these passages only, it 
seems, in Biblical and ecclesiastical Greek." In the 
Appendix,' however, comes this very necessary cor- 
rection: "The word is found not only in the two 
passages quoted but also in inscriptions, and so often 
that it must be described as quite a usual word, at 
least in Syria, to designate a sinner in the religious 
sense." There is only one more correction to make : 
here, and in the epigraphical references which Cremer 

' ira TWifyTai kot' iKKKr)<rlav (for this formula of. Acts xiv. 23) iv tu (lio) 
$ei.Tpa (tie) lirl tQv piireav. This is also a neat confirmation of Actsxiz. 82,41, 
according to which the iKK\r)<rlai, at Ephesos took place in the theatre. 

« 'Page 151. 

= 'Page 1119. 


proceeds to give, we must read not " S5rria " but 
" Lycia." ^ 

The subject had already been treated in detail by 
G. Hirschfeld,^ and more recently L. Deubner' 
pubhshed a collection of passages from inscriptions, 
which is almost identical with Cremer's. The in- 
scriptions are of a class very common in the south- 
west of Asia Minor — epitaphs containing a threat 
against any one who shall desecrate the tomb, ajota/x- 
tojXos ea-TCD deoi^ {KaTa)x0ovLoi<s, " let him be as a sinner 
before the (sub)terranean gods." In the same district, 
however, we find the words iwdpaTo?, " cursed," * and 
evoxos, " guilty," employed in exactly the same way : 
[e]woj(os i<TTOi iraa-L 6eo'i<s, "let him be guilty before 
all the gods."^ This parallelism between d/iapTwX-ds 
and evoxo? seems to be the solution of a grammatical 
puzzle which has always caused me difficulties, viz. 
the use of the genitive after ivoxos^ especially in 
the important passage 1 Cor. xi. 27, to which I have 
long sought a parallel in inscriptions and papyri, 
but in vain, despite the frequent occurrence of the 
word. We find, however, the parallel d/iaprtaXos 
with the genitive in inscriptions from Telmessus 
in Lycia, 240 B.C., ^ and from Myra in Lycia, before 

' Cremer probably misread the handwriting o£ Schlatter, to whom he no 
doubt was indebted for this important correction. 

' Kiinigsberger Studien, 1 (1887) p. 83 ff. 

" Athenisohe Mitteilnngen, 27 (1902) p. 262; of. also G. Mendel, Bulletin de 
Correspondance Hellfinique, 24 (1900) p. 392. 

* Meisen im liidwestlichen, Kleinasien [cf. p. 14, n. 1, above], II. p. 159, 
No. 187. 

» lUd. p. 166, No. 193. 

' U. Wiloken has also been struck by the New Testament genitive in 
Matt. xxvi. 66, Arohiv fur Papyrusforsohung, 1, p. 170, although this genitive 
of the punishment is not without parallel. J. Wellhansen, Emleitwig in die 
d/rd eriten Evtmgelien, p. 34, says that ivoxov elvai tJ Kplaa, Matt. v. 21 f ., is not 
Greek — why, I do not know. 

' Dittenberger, Orientis Graecilmoriptionei Seleetae, No. SSat (= Michel, 
Beaueil, No. 5473it), d/uipr&iXoi (arurav [ffefi]* TdvTuii, "let them be as sinners 
before all the gods." 


A.D. 1,^ and this is sufficient to account for the 
peculiar use of the synonymous evoxo's by St. Paul 
the Cihcian ^ in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. 

(5) The Hebrew name for the Feast of Tabernacles 
is hag hassukkoth, " feast of booths." To have been 
quite literal, the Greek translators of the Old Testa- 
ment must have rendered this ioprri (tSv) aKrjVMv, as is 
actually found in the Septuagint, Lev. xxiii. 34, Deut. 
xvi. ] 3, 2 Chron. viii. 13, Ezra iii. 4, 2 Mace. x. 6. In 
the majority of passages, however, in which the feast is 
mentioned (Deut. xvi. 16, xxxi, 10 ; Zech. xiv. 16, 18, 
19, 1 Esdras v. 51, 1 Mace. x. 21, 2 Mace. i. 9, 18) 
we find the more cumbrous expression eopT':7 (t^s) 
arKrjvoTTTjyia's, "feast of booth-making," which has 
found its way into the New Testament (John vii. 2), 
and Josephus, and was therefore no doubt the most 
usual.' The reason for the choice of this cumbrous 
expression is not discoverable in the Hebrew. It Ues 
rather in the fact that the verb a-Krjvoirrjyeia-Oak already 
bore a technical religious sense in the world which 
spoke the language of the Septuagint. There is a long 
inscription * from the island of Cos, probably of the 
2nd century B.C., which records the arrangements for 
sacrifices and enumerates the acts of religion to which 
the worshippers were obhged. They had to offer 
sacrifice and they had to " erect a booth " (a-Kavoira- 
yeiaOoiv),^ on the occasion of a great panegyry or 
solenm assembly, "which was probably held only 

' Meiten im tildweHliohen Xlemasien, II. p. 36, No. 68, a/iapTuKis (ittu 8eur 
v&vTur, " let him be as a sinner before all the gods." 

' Possibly it was a provincialism of S.-W. Asia Minor. For earlier treatment 
of the supposed " Cilicisms " in the New Testament, see Winer and Schmiedel, 
§3, 2 e (p. 23). 

' Winer and Schmiedel, § 3, 2 ei(p. 23), reckon cKi)v<nniy^ among the words 
that were certainly coined by the Greek Jews. But it is found in Aristotle. 

* Athenische Mitteilungen, 16 (1891) p. 406 ff. 

' This formula is many times repeated. 


once a year."^ It is well known that Plutarch re- 
garded the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles as a festival 
of Dionysus ^ ; the Septuagint translators, with other 
motives, did much the same thing: by choosing a 
secular name for their feast ,they brought it more 
into touch with the religious usages of the world 
around them. This is one more factor in the great 
adaptive process for which the Septuagint Bible 
stands in general in the history of religion.* 

(c) Standing phrases and fixed formulae have often 
found their way from the contemporary language into 
the New Testament.* 

(1) The phrase 8 tStujiii ipyaarCav, " I give diligence, 
take pains " (Luke xii. 58), explained in all the 
grammars as a Latinism,® and not known elsewhere 
except in Hermogenes* (2nd century a.d.), is never- 
theless found in an inscription recording a decree of 
the Senate concerning the affairs of Stratonicia in 
Caria (81 B.C.).'' It is possible, of course, to maintain 
that the phrase is here imitated from the Latin 

' According to the editor, Johannes Toepffier, p. 415, who refers to the 
Jewish Peast of Tabernacles and gives a number of pagan examples of the 
custom of erecting booths for religious festivals. Theodor Wiegand writes 
(postcard, Miletus, 22 May, 1908) : " We have found in the market-place of 
Priene, near the altar in the middle of the square, stones marked with letters 
and perforated to receive wooden supports. They are evidently relics of 
the custom of erecting tents at festivals." 

' Sympos. iv. 6, 2. 

' Cf. the appendix at the end of this book on the Jewish prayers for 
vengeance found at Bbeneia, and my little work Die Hellenisierumg des 
semUUchen Monofheignme, Leipzig, 1903, reprinted from the Neue Jahrbiicher 
fiir das klassische Altertum, 1903. 

• Numerous examples have already been given in my Bible Studies and in 
Moulton and Thieme. 

° = operam do. 

* Se invent, iii. 5, 7. 

' Dittenberger, Onentis Graeci Imervptionei Selectae, No. Ml,,^, (pirnirrliunv 
Sidwfflv re ipyaalav, " may they take heed and give diligence." Dittenberger 
(p. 23) criticises this phrase severely. 


original,^ but a letter of vulgar type among the 
Oxyrhynchus Papyri, dated 2 B.C., has it in the 
imperative^ just as in St. Luke, and shows it (also 
as St. Luke does) in living use among the people, 
who no longer felt that it was a " Latinism." I am 
informed by Wilcken that the phrase occurs again 
in an unpublished letter, ciixa 118 a.d. (Bremen 
Papj^i No. 18). 

(2) In the same context in St. Luke (xii. 57) we 
have the expression KpCvo) to SiKaiov, literally "I 
judge the right," which used to be regarded as 
unique, and which Bernhard Weiss' explains to 
mean deciding about that which God demands from 
us. It is made clearer, however, by a prayer for 
vengeance addressed to Demeter which was found 
inscribed on a tablet of lead at Amorgus. * There 
the goddess is implored to give right judgment. So 
Jesus advises those who would go to law with one 
another not to wait for the judge to speak but to 
become reconciled beforehand and thus put an end 
to the dispute by pronouncing " just judgment " 

(3) Another gospel phrase, a-waipw \6yop, " I 
compare accounts, make a reckoning " (Matt, xviii. 
23 f., XXV. 19), is said by Grimm and Thayer not to 
occur in " Greek " writers. Moulton, ® however, has 
pointed out that it occurs in two letters of the 

' So Panlus Viereck, Sermo Graecui quo senatus popnlusque Eomanus 
magistratusque popvili Bomani usque ad Tiberii Caesaris aetatem in sciiptis 
publiois usi sunt, Gottingae, 1888, p. 83. 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 742iif., Bis ipya<rtav, " give diligence." 

' Kritisck Masegetiacher Kommentar von H. A. W. Meyer, I. 2', Gottingen, 
1885, p. 482. 

* Bulletin de Correspondance Hellfaique, 2S (1901) p. 416, iTdKomov, Bed, xal 
Kptvm. rb Slxatov, " hear, goddess, and give right judgment." The editor, Th. 
HomoUe, translates " prononce la juste sentence." 

» The Expositor, April 1901, p. 274 f. 


2nd century a.d., one from Oxyrhynchus^ and the 
other in the Berlin collection,^ while an ostracon 
from Dakkeh in Nubia, dated 6 March, 214 a.d., 
contains the corresponding substantival phrase. * 

(4) Speaking of the devoted couple Aquila and 
Priscilla, in Rom. xvi. 4, St. Paul uses the words : 
" who for my life laid down their own necks." * 
Many commentators have taken this phrase literally, 
as if Aquila and his wife had laid their heads on the 
block to save the apostle after he had been con- 
demned to death by the executioner's axe. The 
majority, however, explain it figuratively : " to lay 
down one's own neck " is the same as " to risk one's 
own life." This interpretation is undoubtedly con- 
firmed by a passage in one of our new texts. At 
the destruction of the cities of Herculaneum and 
Pompeii in the year 79 a.d. the citizens' libraries 
were of course buried along with the rest of their 
household furniture. Remains of these domestic 
libraries have been discovered in the course of 
excavations, and means have also been found to 
make the badly charred rolls in part at least legible 
again. One of the rolls from Herculaneum (No. 
1044), for the decipherment of which we are indebted 
to the ingenuity and learning of Wilhelm Cronert, 
contains a biography of the Epicurean Philonides, 
who flourished about 175-150 B.C. The biographer's 
name is unknown ; but he must have written after 
150 B.C. and of course before the year in which 

' The Oxyrhynchns Papyri 11327f., Iva (rviiipu/uu airrm \6yoy, "that I may 
make a reckoning with him." 

' Berliner Grieohisohe Urknnden, No. 775i8f., &xpv! (sic') &v yho/ie {sic) 
ixi (me) Koi trwdpitifLeti \6yov, " until I come there and we make a reckoning." 

' Wiloken, ffrieeJiiiche Ostraka, No. 1135, ftxc ^yv avvipaeai, "till the 
reckoning of the account," 

' o'inves iwip t^s ^vxtjs /tow rbv iavrCiv rpAxriKov iridriKav, For what follows 
of. Die Christliche Welt, 17 (1903) col. 611 f. 


Herculaneum was destroyed, that is to say either in, 
or at any rate not long before, the age of St. Paul. 
In this biography there occurs the following passage, 
mutilated at the beginning, but for our purpose 
sufficiently clear : ^ " [For (?)] the most beloved of his 
relatives or friends he would readily stake his neck." 

Here we have the same phrase as in the Epistle 
to the Romans, only with another verb,^ and it is 
reasonable to suppose that in the Greek world "to 
lay down, or to stake one's neck for somebody" 
was as current a phrase' as, say, "to go through 
fire and water for somebody " is with us. Originating, 
no doubt, in the phraseology of the law,* the phrase 
was probably in the time of the Epistle to the 
Romans no longer understood literally. The merit 
of the apostle's devoted friends is in no way 
diminished by this observation: it must certainly 
have been an unusually great sacrifice of the personal 
kind that Aquila and Priscilla had dared for St. Paul. 
We may adopt the words of the pagan roll that 
was buried under the lava of Vesuvius some twenty 
years after the Epistle to the Romans was written, 
and say it was something that one would dare only 
" for the most beloved of one's relatives or friends." 

(5) St. Paul's fondness for legal expressions has 
been often observed in other cases,® and will meet 

' Sitzungsberiohte der Kgl. Preuss. Akademie der Wissensohaften zu Berlin, 
1900, p. 951, [iwip ?] To5 /ttdXurT" &yanai)^riov two ivayxaioiv fj t&v (fitKuv TapajSdXot 
hi irolpMs riv rpixv^o"- The thought is somewhat parallel to Eomans v. 7. 
This, and the other passage about Aquila and Priscilla, — what perspectives they 
open up for critics who are fond of tracing " influences." 

' St. Paul uses irorWi^fu, the text from Herculaneum rafiapiWu rbv 

' Cf. above, p. 84, irapapoXeioimi. 

* The original idea is either that some one suffers himself to be put to death 
in the place of another, or that he pledges his neck and goes bail for the 

» Cf. BibeUtudim, p. 103 IBUle Studies, p, 107]. 


with further confirmation in these pages.^ In 
Phil. iv. 3 we have another curious echo of the 
language of the documents : " whose names (are) in 
the book of life " ^ sounds like the formula " whose 
names are shown in the little book," * which occurs in 
a document of the year 190 a.d/ The coincidence 
might be accidental, and I would not quote it here 
were it not that the phrase a)v to. ovofiara, "whose 
names," is certainly demonstrable as a characteristic 
documentary formula, often occurring in the Berlin 
papyri, e.g. No. ISlje (57 a.d.) and No. 726,. 
(191 A.D.). In No. 344i (second or third century 
A.D.) it is even found, as in Mark xiv. 32 for 
instance, without a verb, and it is certainly not a 
Hebraism there. ^ 

D. The Syntax of the New Testament has hitherto 
been least of aU regarded in the light of the new 
texts. For instance, one of the greatest weaknesses 
of Blass's Grammar is that in the sjmtactical portions 
the New Testament is far too much isolated, and 
phenomena that might be easily® illustrated from 
the pagan inscriptions, papjnri, and ostraca, are 
frequently explained as Hebraisms. One typical 

' Of. for instance in Chapter IV. below (p. 323 ff.) the ancient custom of 
sacial manumission made use of by St. Paul as a symbol of our redemption 
by Christ. 

' Sn> ri, Imbjiara iy pi^(f l^onjs. 

' Some document Is thus referred to. 

* Berliner Grieohisohe Urkunden, No. 432 list, Hn ri inbtiara rif jSijSXtS^v 

' Blass, Qrammatik des NeutestamentUohen Grieekitch^ p. 77 [English 
translation,' p. 74], says that kbX rh Svopta airfis is " still more Hebraic" than oE 
t4 tvoiM, thus making this latter also a Hebraism. — Lndwig Mitteis (letter, 
Leipzig, 21 May, 1908) refers further to the Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 485s, 
and Berliner Griechische Urkunden Ko. 888,1. 

• Though not so easily as the lexical points, because the indices, when there 
are any, often take no account of syntax. There is nothing for it but to read 
the texts. 


example is the phrase just mentioned, "whose 
names," used without any verb. And yet, at the 
present day, there is so much new soUd knowledge 
to be gained ! 

(1) To take one example : in the period of the 
new religious movement the colloquial language of 
the Mediterranean area exhibits specially interesting 
changes and additions with regard to prepositional 
usages.^ How are we to understand the passages, 
so important from the point of view of religious 
history, in which St. Paul and others employ the 
prepositions iirip and avTi, unless we pay attention 
to the contemporary " profane " uses ? 

The phrase ^XeVeiv airo, "to beware of," is 
explained by Blass ^ as Hebrew, by Wellhausen ' as 
Semitic ; and yet it is used in a papyrus letter 
of strongly vulgar type, 4 August, 41 a.d., by a 
writer who was surely not a Jew, for he gives this 
warning : " and thou, do thou beware thee of the 
Jews." * 

The combination of eXvai and similar verbs with 
€is, which is after a Hebrew model according to 
Blass* and like Lamed according to Wellhausen,* 
occurs in inscriptions and papyri." I have found 

' Cf . A. Thumb, Die griechisehe Spraohe im Zeitalter des Hellenismua, p. 128, 
and my hints in the Berliner Phllologisohe Woohensohrift, 24 (1904) col. 212 f . 
A meritorious beginning has been made towards the study of the prepositions 
in the papyri by Gualtherus Kuhring, De praepositiomim Oraecarum in ohartis 
Aegyptiis usu qimestiones selectae, (a doctoral dissertation) Bonn, 1906. 

' Grammatik des NewtestamentUohen Grieohisoh,^ p. 127 [Eng. trs.," p. 126]. 

• EinleUwng in die drei ernten Evangelien, p. 32. 

* Berliner Griechisehe Urkunden, No. 1079, (coi ai /SXAre ffariv («itf) dir6 twv 
'lovSaluv. Here we have also the supposed "non-Greek" phrase, /SWireu' 
iavT6v. See also Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, October 1908, p. 380 1. 

^ Grwmmatih, p. 88 [Eng. trs.'^ p. 85]. See also Jean Psiohari, Essai mr U 
Orec de la Septante, p. 201 f . , 

' mnleitvmg, p. 32. But 7 is not the exact equivalent of eJs. If ? were to 
toe imitated we should expect some other preposition, e.g. iwl. 

' J. H. Moulton, QramMor, p. 71 f. ; Eadermacher, Prospectus, p. 6. 


Fig. 12. — Ostracon, Thebes, 2nd cent. a.d. Order for Payment of Wheat. 
Now in the Author's collection. 

[p. 123 


anespecially valuable^ example among the inscriptions 
of Priene, of about the second century b.c.* 

What light has been shed on the formula eis to 
ovofia, "in the name," by the inscriptions, papyri, 
and not least by the ostraca ! To the previous 
examples' of this, a legal formula* current in the 
Hellenistic world, I can now add from my own 
collection an ostracon from Thebes, of the second 
century a.d., which is important also in other respects 
(Figure 12). 

As deciphered by Wilcken the reading is : — 

Crispus^ to Na . . [a] . . (?) 
Pay in the name^^ (for the 
south-west quarter) of Vestidia 
Secunda (?), represented by^* 

AidcrreiXov el<i ovo'' 

ei? NoTov* 
Ovear^ Se/covSai?)^" BianoT^ 

Mapia ^^ vemr ■'^ t^? tov 
irvpov aprap " ovo rj- 

/iiav rpiTov rerpaKaiKoar^* 

PoUia Maria the younger, the 

two and a half and a third and a 

twenty-fourth artabae^'of wheat 

(Here the ostracon breaks off.) 

' Beoaiise old, and oocurring not in a vulgar text but actually in an official 

* No. 5O39, [t]oCto Si elvai els ^vKaKriv rijs r6\e(as, " but this is to be for a 
guard to the city." No. SSsn. (circa 200 B.C.) is to the same effect : elvai Si ' 
t6 ^//■^uriia toBto M <ritm]plai rij! iriXews, " but this decree is to be for the 
salvation of the city." 

' Bihelstudien, p. 143 ff. ; Neue Sibehtudien, p. 25 ; Bible Studies, pp. 146, 197 ; 
Theologische Literaturzeitnng, 25 (1900) col. 73 f.; and most particularly 
Wilhelm Heitmiiller, " Im Nwmen Jesu" Gottingen, 1903, p. 100 ff. 

* It is possible, perhaps, that the formula found its way into Greek legal 
phraseology at a very early period through Semitic influence. Cf . the DE'3 of 
the Aramaic papyri of Assuan and the observations by Mark Lidzbarski, 
Deutsche Literaturzeitnng, 27 (1906) col. 3218. But this is no reason for 
regarding it as a Semiticism felt as such in the Imperial period ; it had been 
amalgamated long before. Of. also Heitmiiller, p. 104s. Jean Fsichari, Eatai 
su/r le Qree de la Septante, p. 202 f ., must not be neglected. 

' Occurs as the name of a Jew in 1 Cor. i. 14, Acts xviii. 8. 
° Or Ne . . o ■ [ . ], Wilcken. Ni[/coX]ciii) is very improbable. 
' i.e. eis tvoiJ^a). The formula is so common that it is abbreviated. 

[For notes 8 to 16 see next page. 


As the ostracon contains the name "Maria" it 
constitutes a new document in the history of the 
Jewish^ Diaspora in Egypt, and more particularly 
in Thebes.^ To claim it on that account as a proof 
of the genuine " Judaeo-Greek " character of our 
formula would be trivial, in view of the numerous and 
early pagan examples that are already knoMTi. 

(2) According to Mark vi. 7 Jesus sent forth 
His disciples 8vo Svo, "by two and two." A dis- 
tributive numeral relation is here expressed in the 
Greek by repeating the cardinal number. Well- 
hausen' says this is not truly Greek, but* it is 
found in Aeschylus " and Sophocles.* These examples 

' It is not very probable that this Maria was a Christian. 

' Of. previons examples in Sohurer, Geschichte des jiidischen Volkes, 111? 
p. 19 S. [the Jew Danoulos mentioned on p. 23 must be struck out, for the 
papyrus passage in question is now read differently by Wilcken ; cf. Epistndae 
Privatae Oraecae ed. S. Witkowski, p. 84] ; and Wilcken, GrieoMsclie 
Ostrahi, I. pp. 281 ffi., 523 f . [the persons here mentioned with the name of Simon 
need not all be Jews ; of. Bibelstudien, p. 184 ; Bible Studies, p. 316, n. 2], 535. 

' Das Evamgelivm Marci ubersetU und erWJ/ii,, Berlin, 1903, p. 52. 

* Cf. Theologische Literaturzeitung, 23 (1898) col. 630 f. 

' Pers. 981, luifla. fivpia, " by myriads." 

' From the lost drama called Uris the Antiatticist [an anonymous lexico- 
grapher of late date, edited by Bekker ; see W. Schmid, Der Attidsmus, I. p. 208, 
etc. Tb.] quoted idav idav in the sense of Kara /ilcai ; this was iirst pointed out 

Continuation of notes to p. 123 : — 

' i.e. cis N(Stou A(i|S6s) ; on the quarters of the city of Thebes see Wilcken, 
Griechische Ostrdha, 1. p. 713. 

' i.e. OieffT(i8la ?). The use of the cases (nominative for genitive) is vulgar, 
as in the Eevelation of St. John. 

" The reading is doubtful, Wilcken. It would = 2e/fo8(i')5o. 

" It is significant that the Hellenised form of the name, Mopfa, occurs also here. 

" i.e. veiariipa), abbreviated like our " jun." or " jr." 

" i.e. dpTd|3(as). The " artaba " was a measure of com. 

" With this form cf . a similar one in Mayser, Grammatik der griechischen 
Papyri, p. 318. 

" i.e. " to the account of." 

" This use of the preposition Sii, occurring also in the papyri (cf . L, Wenger, 
Die Stellvertretimg im Beehte der Papyri, Leipzig, 1906, p. 9 ff.), is of important 
bearing on the interpretation of the formula " through Christ " and the con- 
ception of the Paraclete ; cf. Adolph Sohettler, Die paulinisohe Formel "Buroh 
Chrietus," Tubingen, 1907, p. 28 ad fin. 


would be sufficient to account for the same use in 
the Septuagint and in the New Testament ; it agrees 
with the Semitic use,^ it is true, but it is good 
popular Greek for all that. It has been shown by 
Karl Dieterich* to exist in Middle Greek, and has 
remained in Modern Greek down to the present 
day,' We can trace this use, therefore, through a 
period of two thousand five hundred years. A 
welcome new link in the long chain of witnesses 
from Aeschylus to the Bible and from the Bible 
till to-day was added by a letter of the 3rd century 
A.D., among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (No. 121), in 
which a certain Isidorus writes to one AureUus to 
" bind the branches by three and three in bundles." * 
Still more recently there has come in the OxjThyn- 
chus Papyri (No. 88619, ) a magical formula of the 
3rd cent, a.d., which exhibits a curious mixture of 
this and a prepositional construction.® 

(3) In conclusion we may select from the abundance 
of new syntactical observations an example which 
has lately met with general recognition, viz. the 
peculiar "nominative" ttXtjptjs in the prologue to 

by Thumb, Die grieehisohe SpracTie, p. 128. Blass, Grammatik des Neiutesta- 
mewtUehen 6hriechisoh^ p. 146 [Engl, ed.' pp. 145, 330], rightly inferred from 
this that the Atticists opposed this form of expression, which they therefore 
must have found present in the vernacular, " and it was not merely Jewish 

' We have here one of the numerous coincidences between the popular 
phraseology of different languages. Of. the popular distributive tvjei und zwei 
in German ; in English " two and two." 

» Vhtersuchimgen, %w Gesoliiohte der griechischen Spraehe, p. 188. 

' Of. Jean Psichari, Msai mr le Qreo de la Septante, p. 183 f . 

* Sva (He) Sii(7Ti rpla rpia. Cf. S'/ja-are Seir/iiLs Seff/nds, "bind them in 
bundles," which Blass,* p. 146 [Engl, ed.' p. 145], considers to hare been the 
original reading in Matt. xiii. 30. 

' ?p€ [ = alpe] KOTck S6o Sio, "take them up by two and two." — In the, 
Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 940f, (letter, 5th cent. A.D.) /Uav /itav is used, so the 
editors (Grenfell and Hunt) think, in the sense of una = " together " (Part VI. 
1908, p. 310). 


St. John (i. 14),^ which bears intimately on a 
celebrated problem of this gospel. If I am not 
mistaken/ this ". nominative " has been regarded by 
a pious Silesian commentator of our own day as a 
peculiarly fine dogmatic distinction of the inspired 
sacred text. In matters linguistic, however, the com- 
mentator's piety is not enough. I agree, mutatis 
mutandis, with Hans Thoma,' who once told the 
Protestant clergy of Baden that it would be more 
desirable to have a sinner painting good pictures 
than to have a saint painting bad ones.* The 
present case, therefore, must be decided by cold 
philological considerations, and philology tells us, on 
the evidence of papyri,* ostraca, and wooden tablets, 
that irXyjprjis as used by the people had often shrunk 
and become indeclinable. The oldest example 
hitherto known ^ is in the dreams of the twin-sisters 
and Ptolemaeus,^ 160 B.C., contemporary, therefore, 
with the Septuagint usage. Another pre-Johannine 
example is afforded by an Egyptian wooden tablet, 
probably of the reign of Augustus.* Next come a 

' lis /wvoyevoOs irapi, irarpbs irMipnii [Codex D irXii/jij] xApiTOS Koi dX)j9eias, 
This irkiiprii occurs also in other passages of the New Testament and the 

' I cannot lay my hand on the passage, and I prefer not to waste time in 
looking for it. 

' [The painter, J. 1839. He is the holder of two honorary degrees of the 
University of Heidelberg, Dr. phil. and D. theol., the latter conferred in 
October 1909.. Te.] 

* Bericht iiber die Tatigkeit des Wissenschaftliohen Predigervereins der 
evangelischen Geistlichkeit Badens im Jahre 1906, Karlsruhe, 1907, p. 10. 

' Cf. Blass, Grammatik des NewtestamentUcTien GrieckigcJi,' p. 84 and even 
'p. 81 [Engl. ed. .p. 81]. Hermann Diels (letter, Berlin W., 22 July, 1908) 
refers further to A. Brinkmann, Bheinisches Museum, 54, p. 94, and Berl. 
PhUol. Woohenschrift, 1900, col. 252. 

• Cf. J. H. Moulton, Grammar,' p. 50, and Mayser, Grammatik der griechi- 
tehen Pajpyri, p. 63. All other needful references will be found there. 

' Leyden Papyrus, II,, (^Papyri Graeci Musei . . . Lugdtmi-Batavi, ed, 
C. Leemans, 1. 1. [1848] p. 118). 

' Eevue ArchSologique, 29 (1875) p. 233 f . (SuKa airu (sic) t&, raO\a jrXiJpij* 
Kol T&s Sairira!, "I have given him his full fare and money to spend." 


number of quotations from papyri, and, as might 
have been expected, the statistics have been further 
enriched by the ostraca.^ Moulton ^ is quite right 
in saying that a Greek with a literary training would 
not have used the shrunken form. But he goes too 
far in assuming that it was first introduced into the 
Gospel of St. John by a copyist. The copyists 
worked as a rule quite mechanically, like our 
compositors ; when they made linguistic changes in 
the text of the New Testament they did so under 
the orders of trained theologians — men who generally 
must have been under the influence of Atticism and 
opposed to the vernacular. Where the textual 
authorities show variations, then in the gospels and in 
St. Paul popular forms have always a fair claim to 
preference. There is no special reason for regarding 
Trhjpr]? in St. John as not original. The vulgar form 
occurring in the lapidary style of the prologue — a field 
anemone amid the marble blocks — is in fact a clear 
token of the popular character which even this gospel 
bears. The scholar whose instinct may have been 
misled by the word Logos in the first line is brought 
back to the right road by this undoubted popular 

E. We pass now to consider briefly, in conclusion, 
the styk of the New Testament in the light of the 
profane texts.* The transition is an easy one, for 
we can stiU take our examples from the Johannine 
writings. It has become an inviolable tradition with 
commentators to represent the Johannine style as 
particularly Semitic, chiefly on account of its pre- 

' Wiloken, Gneohisehe Ottraka, No. 1071, Thebes, 16 February, 185 a.d. ; 
probably also No. 1222, Thebes, Boman period. 
' Orammeur? p. 60. 
• Of. the general observations above, pp. 63 f . 


ference for paratactic constructions, especially "and 
. . . and," which occurs so frequently. The very 
latest critic of the Johannine style, E. von Dobschxitz,^ 
who distinguishes an original and an adaptation in the 
First Epistle of St. John, has these observations on 
the style of the original, conveyed, it may be re- 
marked, in a highly paratactic style of his own : — 

" Thesis stands beside thesis, sentence opposes sentence ; 
there are none of the delicate connecting particles, appropriate 
to every gradation in the thought, which are so abundant in 
classical Greek. These are no doubt greatly diminished in the 
colloquial language of the Hellenistic period. But a style such 
as we have here is really not Greek. It is Semitic thinking that 
is here displayed. Only in the Septuagint is there anything 
like it to be found." 

Apart from our new texts altogether, we could 
appeal to the facts of Indo-Germanic philology in 
refutation of this branding of parataxis as "not 
Greek." Parataxis appears to be not Greek only 
from the orthodox point of view of the Atticists, who 
laid it down that the periodic structure with hypo- 
taxis was good, beautiful, and Greek par excellence. 
As a matter of fact, parataxis was the original form 
of Greek speech ; it survived continuously in the 
language of the people, and even found its way into 
literature when the ordinary conversation of the 
people was imitated. The facts are admirably stated 
by Karl Brugmann ^ : — 

' " Johanneische Studien," Zeitsohrift fur die neutestamentliohe Wissen- 
schaft und die Kunde des Urchristentums, 8 (1907) p. 7. Wilhelm Heitmiiller 
in the Oegenwarttbibel (Die Sohriften des N. T. . . ., herausg. von Johannes 
Weiss), II., Gbttingen, 1907, 3, p. 175, pronounces a similar judgment, and 
even ventures from the structure of the sentences and their connexion to draw 
conclusions as to the birth-oertifloate of the writer: "They betray beyond 
doubt the Jewish origin of the evangelist." 

'' Grieehische Grammatik' (Handbuch der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, 
II. 1»), Munchen, 1900, p. 555 f. 


" It is beyond doubt that the language of Homer exhibits on 
the whole far more of the original paratactic structure than the 
language of Herodotus and the Attic prose writers, such as 
Thucydides, Plato, Demosthenes. . . . This is not because the 
language of Homer is older and closer to the primitive Indo- 
Germanic type of language, but rather because the epic is less 
detached than the later literature from the natural soil of 
language. Wherever in the Indo-Germanic sphere a genuine 
popular dialect is found to exist side by side with a more highly 
developed literary language, we see that the popular dialect makes 
far more use of the paratactic form of expression than the literary 
language. If a work of later date, say, for example, of the 3rd 
century e.g., were preserved, presenting to us as true a specimen 
of popular sentence-construction as the Homeric poems, the 
language of Homer would probably in this respect appear 
scarcely more archaic. There is in fact no very great difference 
to be detected between Homeric Greek and the Modern Greek 
dialects in this particular. When, in the age of literary practice 
and scholastic training, we find authors using paratactic con- 
structions where they might have employed hypotactic forms, 
such being in general use in the cultivated language, we may 
generally assume that there has been an upward borrowing 
from the forms of the language of every-day life." 

Brugmann illustrates this last remark by examples 
from the Greek Comedy and from Demosthenes j 
in both eases there is conscious imitation of the 
popular ^ style.^ 

If we have once recognised the popular character 
of the Johannine style — not an imitation, this, but in 
large measure a wild, natural growth — then we have 

' This is obvious, of course, in the case of Comedy. We have here the 
reason why the vocabulary of Comedy finds such frequent echoes in the New- 
Testament. It is not because the apostles were regular attendants at the- 
theatre or readers of Comedy, but Comedy and New Testament both draw 
from the popular colloquial language as from a common spring. 

2 The examples in Wilhelm Schmid, Der AtHoismiiS, I. p. 422, II. p. 299, 
III. p. 326, are also very well worth considering. Of. also Bduard Schvfyzer, 
Nengriechische Syntax und altgriechische, Neue Jahrbuoher f iir das klassische 
Altertum, etc., 1908, 1 Abteilnng, 21 Band, p. 500; and Jean Psichari, Estai 
tv/r le Grec de la Septante, p. 186. 



solved the riddle which our Atticist commentators 
with their censorial attitude are always discovering. 
St. John is popular in style when he is narrating 
something, or when he is making reflections of his 
own, no less than when he reproduces the sayings of 
Christ. It is easy to find examples of both — the 
popular narrative style, with its short paratactic 
sentences and it's " and . . . and" and the stately 
style, impressive by the very simplicity of its popular 
appeal, in which the Divinity speaks in the first 
person to strangers and devotees. 

One of the finest examples of popular narrative 
style is the report by an Egyptian named Ptolemaeus, 
in the year 160 B.C., of a dream that he had had 
{Paris Papyri, No. 51). I should have liked to 
reprint this extraordinarily interesting text here,^ but 
it is advisable to await the appearance of Wilcken's 
edition of the papyri of the Ptolemaic period, which 
wiU doubtless give us the dream of Ptolemaeus 
with considerably improved readings. 

Another good example is the letter of consolation 
written by Irene, an Egyptian woman of the second 
century a.d., and found at Oxyrhynchus. This letter 
will be discussed in a later chapter.^ 

Here is the story told by two "pig-merchants," 
about 171 A.D., in their letter of complaint to the 
Strategus, fovmd at Euhemeria (Kasr el-Ban§.t) in 
the Fayum ' :— 

. . . exde<i ^nt rjv i0 tov 
Oe/uarov fiepiSo'i viro tov 

. . . Yesterday, which was 
the 19th of the present month 
Thoth, as we were returning 
about daybreak from the village 

' First published in Notices et Bictraits, 18, 2, p. 323 f . 
^ Cf . p. 164, below. ' FaySm Towns and their Papyri, No. 108. 

■• This "incorrect" genitive absolute with a following dative occurs in 
exactly the same way in John iv. 51, and many other New Testament passages. 


opdpov einjkdav rifieiv KaKovp- 
ryoi rive<s owh \jjk\i(Tov IIoXv- 
SevKiai Kal ttj? @eaSe\^eia<! 
jcal ehrjaav '^fia<s avv Kal rm 
jiaySa)\o^v\aKi km, trXriya'i'i 
'^fia<; 7^X^o■TOt9 fJKierav K[aX\ 
Tpavfianaiov etroiriaav tov 
[Ilaauo\va koX elaavfipa{v 
r)fi\S>v %otpi8t[oj'] a KoX 
i^da\Ta^av tov tov Uafft'wi'Jo? 
KiT&va . . . Kal . . . 

of Theadelphia in the division 
of Themistes, certain male- 
factors came upon us between 
Polydeucia and ITieadelphia, 
and bound us and also the 
guard of the tower, and as- 
saulted us with very many 
stripes, and wounded Pasion, 
and robbed us of 1 pig, and 
carried off Pasion's coat . . . 
and . . . ^ 

How firmly this " and . . . and " style was rooted 
in the language of the people is shown by a much 
later bill of complaint of a Christian Egyptian 
woman who had been ill-treated by her husband 
(Oxyrhynchus Papyri, No. 903, 4th century a.d.). 

The parallelism of the style comes out most 
clearly if we compare texts of similar content. For 
instance tve might take these sentences from the 
story of the man born bUnd (John ix. 7, 11) : — 

7. Kal elirev avTm ' vTraye 
t/ii^ai, ei? TTjv KoXv/j.^'^dpav 
TOV Si^ajd/jL (o epfJ/ijvevETai 
air€a-Ta\fi6vo<!). wirriKOev oZv 
Kal ivi^jraTO Kal ijXOev ^Kkirwv. 
11. direKptdTi 6X6(1/09 • 6 av- 
Spmiro^ 6 Xeyofievov 'Iijaov^ 
■Tr7J}J6v iiroi7]<rep Kal eTr^^to-ei/ 

7. And said unto him. Go, 
wash in the pool of Siloam 
(which is by interpretation. 
Sent). He went away there- 
fore, and washed, and came 
seeing. 11. He answered. The 
man that is called Jesus made 
clay, and anointed mine eyes. 

' Cf . the parallel descriptive details of the robber scene in the parable of 
the Good Samaritan, Luke x. 30 : mention of the road on which the outrage 
took place ("from Jerusalem to Jericho"), the stripes ("beat him," R.V.), 
the theft of clothing. It is clear that Jesns was successful in hitting the 
popular tone. The papyri and inscriptions furnish good contemporary illus- 
trations of the same kind to other of our Lord's parables, e.g. the importunate 
widow (Luke zviii. 1 S.) Tauetis of the village of Socnopaei Nesus (Berliner 
Griechische Urknnden, No. 522, Faydm, 2nd century A.D,), or the prodigal 
son. Antonis Longus with his confession of sins to his mother Nilus (Berliner 
Griechische Urkunden, No. 846, Fayftm, 2nd century A.D. ; see below, 
pp. 176 ft). 


fwv Toir? 6<j)0aX/iov<! Kal elirev 
fioi oTi viraye ets tov StXMafi 
Kal vi^jrai. aireKOmv otiv xal 

and said unto me, Go to 
Siloam, and wash : so I went 
away and washed, and I re- 
ceived sight. (R.V,) 

Compare with these sentences one of four records of 
cures inscribed on a marble tablet some time after 
138 A.D., probably at the temple of Asclepius on the 
island in the Tiber at Rome ^ : — 

To Valerius Aper, a blind 
soldier, the god revealed ^ that 
he should go ' and take blood 
of a white cock, together with 
honey, and rub them into an 
eyesalve * and anoint ' his eyes 
three days. And he received 
his sight,* and came ' and gave 
thanks * publicly " to the god.^" 

OvciXeplfp Airptp arpaTiwry 
Tvip'Kw i'x^pijfidria-ev ^ 6 6eb<; 
iXdeiv ' Kal Tut^eiv atfia i^ 
a\eKrpv&vo<! XevKov fierd fie- 
XiTO'i Kal KoWvpiov* avv- 
Tply^ai, Kal eVt Tpel<s 'fjfiepa^ 
eTTi'Xpe'icrai^ evl roii^ 6<f)da\- 
IM>v<;. Kal avepKe>^ev ' «al 
eSJiXvOev ' Kal r)vj(api(TTi]<Tev * 
Brifioaia^ rm Oe^}" 

This text is, if possible, even more paratactic 
(" Semitic," people would say, if it were a quotation 
from the New Testament) than the corresponding 
passage in St. John. 

' Corpus Iniervptionum Oraeoarum, No. 5980isff. = Dittenberger, Sylloffe,^ 
No. 807i5fr. Apart from the mere words the parallelism is of course re- 
markable. Similarities both formal and actual occur also in the three other 
records and in numerous tablets of the same kind from Bpidaurus. For a 
perfectly simple narrative style, consisting almost entirely of participial 
constructions and sentences connected by xai, of. the long inscription record- 
ing the " Acts of Heracles," Corpus Insoriptionvm Oraecm-um, No. 5984, The 
word irpdjfis is here used as in the title of St. Luke's and other "Acts of 
the Apostles." 

^ So used frequently in the Greek Bible in the sense of divine warning 
or revelation [e.j. , LXX Jer. zzzii. (xxv.) 30, zxxvii. (jcxx.) 2, xliii. (xxxvi.) 2, 4 ; 
Matt. ii. 12, 22 ; Luke ii. 26 ; Acts x. 22 ; Heb. viii. 5, xi. 7, xii. 25]. 

' Corresponding to the direct imperative " Go " in St. John. 

' Of. the clay made of earth and spittle in St. John. 

' The word is employed exactly as by St. John, who also construes it with 
M (ix. 6). " As in St. John. 

' As in John ix. 7. ' As often in the New Testament. 

» As in the Acts [xvi. 37, xviii. 28, xx. 20]. 

" Cf. the grateful Samaritan, Luke xvii. 15 f. 


Most striking of all, however, is the similarity 
between St. John's solemn use of the first personal 
pronoun and certain non-Christian and pre-Christian 
examples of the same style employed in the service 
of religion. Diodorus of Sicily has preserved an 
inscription in this style in honour of Isis at Nysa in 
*' Arabia," and there has recently been discovered 
another Isis inscription in the island of los, while 
echoes of the same style are found in texts of post- 
Johannine date. In the case of the second inscrip- 
tion there is another^ of those delightful accidents 
to be recorded which serve to recompense all who 
are wearied by the toil of compiling the statistics of 
language. This inscription, highly important also in 
respect of its contents, is now in the church of St. 
John the Divine, los, written on a portion of fluted 
column which now serves to support the altar : St. 
John the Divine has rescued this venerable document 
of a prose akin to his own. The first editor of the 
inscription, R. Weil,^ considered it, strangely enough, 
to be an imperial edict or letter of the period of 
the Christian persecutions. Its true character was 
afterwards pointed out to him by Evstratiadis.' It 
has repeatedly engaged the attention of scholars, and 
was last pubUshed by Baron F. Hiller von Gaert- 
ringen,* who assigns the writing to the second or 

' Cf. p. 102 above for the similar preservation of the ^irKrwcfyw-yiJ 

^ Athenische Mitteilungen, 2 (1877) p. 81. Fortunately he was not a 
theologian, or he would have been marked out as an example for all time of 
the blindness inevitable to a member of our faculty. 

» lUd. p. 189 f. 

* InscHptioTtes Graeeae, XII. V. 1 No. 14, of. p. 217 ; for an unimportant new 
fragment see Bulletin de Oorrespondance Hellgnique, 28 (1904) p. 330. I 
observed recently that Adolf Erman, Die agyptUche Beligion, Berlin, 1905, 
p. 245, also translates the inscription (in part), and takes the same view 
of it as I do. It shows, he says, " what the more simple souls thought of 


third century a.d. By his kind agency I am enabled 
to reproduce here (Figure 13), with the permission 
of the Epigraphical Commission of the Prussian 
Academy of Sciences, a carefully prepared facsimile 
of this uncommonly interesting text by Alfred Schiff. 
In spite of the late writing the text itself, as shown 
by the parallel text from Nysa in our pre-Christian 
authority Diodorus, is old in the main, and probably 
much older than the Gospel of St. John. 

In order not to break the historical continuity I 
give first of all the text from Nysa, then that from 
los, ^ thirdly a Johannine text of similar form, and 
lastly an example of the sacral use of the first person 
singular that is no doubt later than St. John. 

Diodorus of Sicily (t 27 B.C.) says in his History^ 
that he was acquainted with writers who had de- 
scribed the tombs of Isis and Osiris at Nysa in 

' Among pre-Johannine texts we might also mention the " Praise of 
Wisdom," in Bcoleaiasticns xxiv., where the first personal pronoun is used at 
least four times in the solemn mamier. This style can undoubtedly be traced 
still further back : of. the solemn " I am " of Jahveh in the Old Testament, 
and the " I " used by the kings in ancient Oriental inscriptions, an echo of 
which is found in the late inscription of Siloo, a 6th cent. Christian King of 
Nubia (Dittenberger, Orientis QrascH Inscryitiones Seleetae, No. 201). The 
parataxis in this inscription, which is sufficiently barbaric in other respects, is 
exactly paralleled in the Isis inscriptions of Nysa and los. The best parallels 
to the use of the first personal pronoun are to be found in Egyptian sacred 
texts. Of. for instance the texts in Albrecht Dieterich's Mne MUkraslUiirgie 
erlautert, Leipzig, 1903, p. 194 f., and the same scholar's references to the Ley- 
den magical papyrus V. in the Jahrbucher fiir classische Philologie herausg. 
TOn Alfred Fleckeisen, 16, Supplementband, Leipzig, 1888, p. 773. Mg., in the 
same papyrus, VH^i we have iydi etiu'Oaipts 6 KakaAiuvos SSup, iyii elfu'Ins ii 
KaXov/ihri Spitros, "I am Osiris, who am called 'Water'; I am Isis, who am 
called ' Dew.' " Formal and actual parallels are also found in the London 
magical papyrus No. 46256f. and 12l498f- (Kenyon, I. pp. 72, 100), and particularly 
in Apuleius, Metamorphoses, 11. 5. 

" I. 27. I quote from the edition by F. Vogel, Leipzig, 1888. 


" Arabia." ^ The tombstone of each deity bore an 
inscription in " sacred characters," and he gives as 
much of the text as was still legible, the greater part 
having been already destroyed by time. 

UTTO iUpfwv, Kai oaa eyco evo- 
fio6iT7jcra, ovBel'i aina Svvarai 
Xvcrat, 'Eyoo el/ii 17 tov veco- 
rdrov Kpovov deov BvyaTt)p 
TTpeo'^VTaTT]. 'Eya» elfu yvvrj 
Kol aSeXfji'^ 'Oa'ipiSo'; ^aai- 
Xew?. 'Eiyto elfii r] irpayrr} 
Kapirov dv0p<oiroK evpovtra. 
'Eym elfii /iiJTTjp "flpov tov 
^a&Ckia><;. 'Eyca elfii r) iv rm 
darpcp T& iv t& kvvI i-TrireX- 
\ov<ra. 'E/iol Bov^aa-TOf tj 
iro\i<s mKohoiirjBrj. Xalpe, 
X<"'P^ Axyvvre r) ffphp-aad jie. 

Diodorus also gives a fragment of the Osiris in- 
scription. Like the other it consists of brief state- 
ments by Osiris about himself, but the word " I " is 
not so conspicuous as in the Isis text. 

I am Isis, the queen of every 
land, taught by Hermes, and 
whatsoever things I have or- 
dained, no one is able to loose 
them. I am the eldest daugh- 
ter of Cronos, the youngest 
god. I am wife and sister of 
King Osiris. I am the first 
that devised fruit for men. 
I am mother of Horus the 
King. I am she that riseth 
in the dog-star. For me was 
the city of Bubastis built. 
Rejoice, rejoice,' Egypt, that 
nourished me. 


That the Nysa inscription was no fiction but a 
permanent constituent in liturgical texts of the Isis 
cult, is proved by the later record from los (Fig. 13), 
which is longer, but in no other respect discordant. 
I print it here without preserving the original division 
into hnes, only marking (for convenience in referring to 
the facsimile) the point where every fifth line begins. 

' This statement must be regarded with suspicion. The text came probably, 
as Wilcken conjectures, from Bubastis. Nysa is a fabulous place. 
2 Or " Hail, haU I " 


['O Seiva aveOrjKev El[]a-i[Si 
Sepd'7r\i\S]t \^A]vov^iBi K'A[p- 
iroKpa]T7). Ettrt? eyoo ^ elfii 17 
r\ypavv\o^ "Trda-rii; X^P^'^ **^ 
Q) iirai^ev\9r]v vtto 'Epfwv 
Kal ypdfifiara e^pov fiera 'Ep- 
liov ra Stj/jloo-m, "va fir) T0t9 
avToX'i irdvTa ypd^rai. 'Eym 
v6fwv<; dvOpmirotf eOe/irjv ical 
ivofio-(}'')9err]cra, a ouSel? Sv- 
varai fieTaOelvav. 'Eyco elfii 
Kpovov Ovydrrjp irpea^vrdTq. 
""Eyo) elfii yvvr] Kal dBeTi^^ 
^Ocreipeo^ ^aa-tXeov. 'Eyd) elfii 
Seov Kvvo<s da-Tpta iviTeKovaa. 
Q^yEyo) elfjLi, ri -rrapd yvvM^l 
deoi; KaXovfiepTj. 'E\jjl\oI Bov- 
0acrTi<; ttoXk oIkoSo/i'^Ot). 'Eym 
€')(wpi'0'<^ 'VV^ dtr ovpavov. 
''Eym da-r\fi\mv oSoi"? eSei^a. 
'Eya> r)\iov koX (rekrjvtji; tto- 
peLav o-vveTa^a. 'Eya> 0aXd<r- 
(^"')o-ta epya ei>pa. 'Eyca to 
hiKavov la-'xypov eiroiTjcra. 'Eym 
yvvaiKa Kal dvBpa avvrf^aya. 
'Eym yvvai^l SeKdfiTjvov 0pi<f>O9 

' I am not quite sure if these two words are rightly taken together. The 
anaphoric ^<i in the following lines leads us to expect that the first sentence 
should also begin with iyii. Elms would then stand alone : Wns (soil, \iyei) ■ 
'E7<4. On the other hand the metrical Isis inscription from Andres, Inscrip- 
tiones Qraeeae, XII. V. 1, No. 739, of the age of Augustus, has 'lo-is ^71!) . . 
several times. 

' Or [?] "Isis (saith) : I am . . ." 

' Cf. Boclus. xxiv. 6. 

* As distinguished from the hieroglyphics. 

° Cf . the idea of divine legislation in the Old Testament. 

• Cf. LXX Psalm oxxi. [cxxii.] 3, 4 : Eoolus. xxiv. 11. 
' Cf. LXX Gen. i. 7-10. 

» Cf. LXX Gen. i. 16 f . ; Job ix. 7 ff. ; xxxviii. 31 f. 

' Cf. LXX Gen. i. 16f. ; Job ix. 7fE. ; xxxviii. 31 f. 

'• Cf. Wisdom xiv. 3 fE. 

" Of. LXX Psalm xxxvi. [xxxvii.] 17, 39. 

12 Cf. LXX Gen. i. 28, ii. 22. 

N. N. dedicated this to Isis, 
Serapis, Anubis, and Harpo- 
crates, I am Isis,' the mis- 
tress of every land,* and was 
taught by Hermes, and devised 
with Hermes the demotic* 
letters, that all things might 
not be written with the same 
(letters). I gave and ordained 
laws ' unto men, which no one 
is able to change. I am eldest 
daughter of Cronos. I am 
wife and sister of King Osiris. 
I am that riseth in the star of 
the Dog god. I am she that 
is called goddess by women. 
For me was the city of Bubastis 
built.* I divided the earth 
from the heaven.' I showed 
the paths of the stars.' I 
ordered the course of the sun 
and moon.' I devised busi- 
ness in the sea.^" I made 
strong the right.^^ I brought 
together woman and man.^^ 
I appointed unto women the 

, rHE/n/cErwEiM[ 


0E1 IMAIErWHfMI f^ Po N Ye Y rATH f 




FrwyiTOT£k N WNro m EJr4'/AorroprEic©AiEMo 



rassian Academy of Science.;, 
[p. 136 


VTTO TeKvmv 

new-bom babe in the tenth 
month.^ I ordained that 
parents should be loved by 
children.^ I laid punishment 
upon those disposed without 
natural affection towards their 
parents.' I made with my 
brother Osiris an end of the 
eating of men.* I showed 
mysteries unto men. I taught 
to honour images of the gods. 
I consecrated the precincts of 
the gods. 1 broke down the 
governments of tyrants.* I 
compelled women to be loved 
by men.^ I made the right 
to be stronger than gold and 
silver.' I ordained that the 
true should be thought good. 
I devised marriage contracts.' 
I assigned to Greeks and bar- 
barians their languages.' I 
made the beautiful and the ill- 
favoured to be distinguished by 
nature. I laid (?) the burden (?) 
of an oath upon . . . un- 
justly . . . 

It may seem surprising that in this case of a 
religious text of really Eg5rptian origin the parallels 
I have given (in the footnotes) are taken from the 
Septuagint and not from other Egyptian texts. ^" But 

' Of. Wisdom vii. 1, 2. 

' Cf. LXX Bxod. XX. 12 ; Deut. v. 16, etc. 

' Cf. Bxod. xxi. 15, 16, etc. ' Cf. Wisdom xii. 3-5. 

* Of. LXX Psalm oxxxiv. [oxxxv.] 10, 11, oxxxv. [cxxxvi.] 17-20. 
' Cf. LXX Gen. 11. 24; Mai. ii. 15, 16. 

' Cf. LXX Psalm xxxvi. [xxxvii.] 16, oxviii. [oxix.] 127. 
' Cf. LXX Mai. ii. 14; (Tobit vU. 13.) 

• Cf. LXX Gen. xi. 7, 9. 

" It would have been easy to find them there. Cf. for instance 0. Gruppe, 
GHecHsche Mythologie und Beligionigescliielde II., Miinohen, 1906, p. 1563 fE. 

701/649 <f)iko<TTopyei<r6ai, evofio- 
QeTTjo-a. 'Eyio rot? aoTofr/oii; 
■joveia-t Sta-(^')«et/iei'Oi? Teifito- 
piav eTredrjKa. 'Eya> fjLerel tov 
aSeK^ov 'OtreCpeo^ ra? avOpto- 
■nro^ar/La<; eiravaa. 'Eyai fivq- 
<rei<; avdpmirovi avehei^a. 'Eym 
arfoX/jbara 6eS>v reifiav iSCBa^a. 
^Eyia Tefievri de&v elSpva-dfiriv. 
''Eym Tvpdvv<a[y a\py(a<i xare- 
\va-a. 'Eyo) aTepye-{^'^)a-0ai 
yvvaiKa'i vir dvSpmv rp/avKaaa. 
''Eyat TO Bixatov elayvporepov 
j(pva-iov Kal dpyvpiov hroir](Ta. 
^Eya> TO a\/r]0e<! koKov ivofw- 
deTrjcra vop,i^ea]dai. 'Eya 
<Twypa<^a<s yafi.i,Ka\<;^ evpa. 
''Eym [SjtaXe/cTou? "EXXtjcti 
Kal /3ap/3dpoi^ SieTa^dr^^^)/j.r}v. 
^Eym TO KoKiiv km, to aia"x^pbv 
SiayetvdcTKea-dai [vttJo t^9 (fiv- 
[<t]6[«i>]? i'7roi[7i(r\a. 'Eya> op- 
Kov (ftopov [iiri/SaXoJv e7r[t . . . 
]v dStKO)^ e^ . . . 


there is a good reason for this : in anticipation of 
the problem which will engage our attention in 
Chapter IV. 1 was anxious to show how close the 
resemblance can be between the Hellenised Old 
Testament and Hellenised Egyptian religion. The 
actual relationship of ideas being so close, how easjr 
must it have been for Hellenistic Judaism and 
Christianity to adopt the remarkable and simple style 
of expression in the first person singular. ' 


John X. 7-14 : — 

'Eyco etfii r) 6vpa t&v irpo- 
0dr(ov • •7rdvTe<; oaoi ^Xdov irpo 
ejMov KKeTTTai eialv koX Xr/a-rab, 
aW ovK rfKowav aiir&p Tci 
irpo^ara. 'Eyco eifu rj 6vpa' 
Bl ifwv edv Tt9 etereXOfi, 
(TcoOijaeTai,, xal elaeKevaerai 
Kol i^eXevaerai Koi vofirjv 
evprjaei. 'O KXe7rr7)<i ovk 
ep')(6Tai el pur) iva KXe^rrj kol 
Ovay Kal diroXearj. 'Eyo) 
rjXOov 'iva ^wrfv e)(a)(Tiv Koi 
Trepurtrov eyaxriv. 'Eyco etp,i 
o TTOip/rjv o KaXo<! • o TTOlp.rjV 
6 KaXo<! rr)v ■^V)(r)v avTov 
riOrjcnv virep t&v irpo^drcov. 

'O p,l<r0Ci)TO'i KoX OVK OiV TTOip/ljv, 

Oil OVK eanv ra irpo^ara iBia, 
Oecopei rov Xvkov ipyppievov 
KoX a^ir)cnv rh irpo^aTa Kal 
cf>evyet (koI o \i}/co? dpird^ei 

' At Ephesus, to which the JohanniDe texts point, there was a cult of 
Isls. — In the inscription in Ancient Ghreek Inscriptions in the British Museum,, 
III. No. 722, the leading Eb-eiov does not seem to me to be certain, bat there 
are other more certain epigraphical proofs. Cf. Adolfus Busch, De Serapide: 
et Iside in Graecia oTiltis, Diss. Berolini, 1906, p. 72 f . 

1 am the door of the sheep. 
All that came before Me are 
thieves and robbers : but the 
sheep did not hear them. I am 
the door : by Me if any man 
enter in, he shall be saved, and 
shall go in and go out, and shall 
find pasture. The thief cometK 
not, but that he may steal,, 
and kill, and destroy : I came 
that they may have life, and' 
may have abundance. I am 
the good shepherd : the good 
shepherd layeth down His life 
for the sheep. He that is a 
hireling, and not a shepherd, 
whose own the sheep are not,, 
beholdeth the wolf coming, 
and leaveth the sheep, and 
fleeth (and the wolf snatcheth 
and scattereth them), because 


avTU Koi cTKopiri^et) ' on fua- 
0o)r6<s itTTiv KaX ov /ie\ei avT& 
irepl r&v •/rpo^drav. ^Eym 
eifit 6 woifiriv o icdKo^. 

he is a hireling, and careth not 
for the sheep. I am the good, 
shepherd. (R.V., adapted.) 


In spite of distortion caused by the would-be- 
wizardry the features of the old style are recognisable- 
in the following passage from the London magical 
papyrus No. 46i45ff., ^ which was written in the 4th 
century a.d. Similar examples would not be difficult 
to find in other magical texts. ^ 

'Eyat eifii 6 aKe(f)aXo<s haifuov, 
iv Toi<s TTOtrXv e)(wv rr)v opairiv, 
la-')(vp6<s, ro TTvp to aOdvarov. 
'Eyco el/ii rj dX'^ffeia 6 fieitr&v 
dSiicij/iaTa yeiveadai iv t& 
KoapA^. 'Ey<a elp.i 6 curTpdirrmv 
[magic words inserted here] 
KaX ^povrStv. 'Eya> elp,i ov 
eiTTiv 6 lSpoi)<; 6p,^po<s iiriirei- 
vrmv ivrX Trfv yrjv Xva oy^evr). 
'Eya eip.1, ov ro <Tr6p,a Kaierai 
Bi oiXov. 'Eym elp.i 6 yevv&v 
Koi diroyevv&v. 'Eym eip,i 17 
Xdpi'<S Tov alSivo<}. 

I am the headless ' daemon^ 
having eyes in my feet, the 
strong one, the deathless fire. 
I am the truth, who hateth 
that evil deeds are in the- 
world. I am he that lighteneth 
\herefoUow certainmagicwordsj. 
and thundereth. I am he- 
whose sweat is a shower falling 
upon the earth to make it 
fruitful. I am he whose mouth 
bimieth altogether. I am he 
that begetteth and begetteth 
again.* I am the grace of the- 

The entire simplicity of the style of this solemn 
monotone is seen all the more clearly if we compare 

- ' Greek Pt^pyri in the British Mmeum, ed. F. G. Eenyoo, I. p. 69 f . 

' It was part of the proper procedure in ancient sorcery for the enchanter 
to identify himself with powerful and terrible deities in order to impress 
the demons who were to be overcome. Of. Bibelttudien, p. 271 ; Sihle- 
Studies, pp. 355, 360. 

' Cf. Franz Boll, Sphaera: Neue griechische Texte und Untersuchungen- 
zur Geschiohte der Sternbilder, Leipzig, 1903, pp. 221 f., 433, 438. 

* Hermann Diels (letter, Berlin W., 22 July, 1908) considers it possible that, 
the verb here means destroy. 


it with metrical paraphrases. This we can do in 
the case both of the Isis inscription and of the 
Johannine texts. There is an inscription of the age 
•of Augustus in the island of Andros,' consisting of a 
hymn to Isis in hexameters, and based evidently on 
the old formulae known to us from the inscriptions 
of Nysa and los. For comparison with the Gospel 
•of St. John we have the pompous hexameters of 
Nonnus. Contrasted with their originals these verses 
sound something Uke the rhyming paraphrase of 
the Psalms by Dr. Ambrosius Lobwasser {anglice 
Praisewater), Professor of Law and Assessor to the 
Royal Court of Justice at Konigsberg, achieved in 

" Zu Gott wir unser Zuflucht haben, 
Wann uns schon Ungliick thut antraben " — 

SO the good man begins the Psalm ^ out of which 
Luther had quarried the granite for his "Feste Burg." 
The " watered praises " of Lobwasser's Psalter are 
about equal in merit, perhaps even superior, to the 
hexameters into which Nonnus and the author of the 
Andros hymn diluted the old lines couched in homely, 
vigorous " I "-style. 

4. From whatever side the New Testament may 
be regarded by the Greek scholar, the verdict of 
historical philology, based on the contemporary texts 
of the world surrounding the New Testament, will 
never waver. For the most part, the pages of our 
sacred Book are so many records of popular Greek, 

1 Bpigranvmata Qraeca, ed. G. Kaibel, No. 1028; most recently in the 
Inscri/pUonei Qraecae, XII. V. 1, No. 739. 

" [Psalm xlvi. Lobwasser might be thus imitated : " To God for refuge 
each one flieth When to o'erride us trouble trieth." Luther's celebrated 
"'Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott" is best represented in Carlyle's version, 
■" A safe stronghold our God is still, A trusty shield and weapon," etc. Tk.] 


in its various grades ; taken as a whole the New 
Testament is a Book of the people. Therefore we^ 
say that Luther, in taking the New Testament from 
the doctors and presenting it to the people, was only 
giving back to the people their own. We enter, 
perhaps, an attic-room in one of our large cities, and 
if we find there some poor old body reading her Testa- 
ment beside the few fuchsias and geraniums on the 
window-sill, then we feel that the old Book is in a. 
position to which its very nature entitles it. Think 
too of the Japanese New Testament found by a Red 
Cross sister in a wounded man's knapsack during the 
war between Russia and Japan : that was also a. 
grateftil resting-place for the old Book. We will go 
further, and say : this great Book of the people ought 
reaUy never to be published in sumptuous editions- 
with costly engravings and expensive binding. The 
Egyptian potsherds with Gospel fragments,^ the 
Paternoster from Megara, ^ the Bibha Pauperum' 
and the Stuttgart Groschenbibel,* are in their ex- 
ternals more in keeping with the character of the 
New Testament than the proposed Double-crown 
Bible * and the other dditions de luxe bought by rich 
German godfathers for Confirmation presents. The 

' Of. above, pp. 48-53. ' Cf. above, p. 48, n. 2. 

' My friend Oarl Neumann, the art-critic, in a letter dated Kiel, 17 May,. 
1908, objects to this estimate of the Biblia Pauperum. [No doubt the author 
was thinking not so much of the actual artistic merit or cost of production of 
the block-books and their MB. predecessors, as of the contrast between them 
and elaborately written (and illuminated) complete Bibles of the same date or 
earlier. Tb.] 

* Cf. an article on the Grosohenbibel in Die Hilfe, 1898, No. 16. [The- 
article was written by Professor Deissmann on the publication of the first 
German " penny Testament " by the Wiirttemberg Bible Institute, following the- 
ezample of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Tb.] 

' Cf. an excellent criticism of the plan by Johannes Ficker, Monatsschrift 
fiir Gottesdienst und kirchliche Kunst, 12 (1907) p. 179 ff. [This Bible waa 
to be printed at the Imperial Government Printing Office in Berlin and soldi 
for a sovereign. Tb.] 


plainer the cover, the more modest the type, the 
coarser the paper, the nearer the pictures come to 
the style of Diirer or Rembrandt, the more fitly will 
"the great Book of the people be arrayed. 

The Book of the people has become, in the course 
of centuries, the Book of all mankind. At the 
present day no book in the world is printed so often 
and in so many languages as the New Testament. 
From the people to mankind at large: historical 
phUology estabhshes the causal connexion under- 
lying this development. The New Testament was 
not a product of the colourless refinement of an 
upper class that had nothing left to hope for, whose 
classical period lay, irretrievable, in the past. On 
the contrary, it was, humanly speaking, a product 
of the force that came unimpaired, and strengthened 
by the Divine Presence, jfrom the lower class 
^Matt. xi. 25 f. ; 1 Cor. i. 26-31). This reason alone 
enabled it to become the Book of all mankind. 

And so the simple texts on stone, papyrus, and 
-earthenware have helped us, firstly, to a Imowledge 
of the sacred Volume on its linguistic side, and then, 
by that means, to no small understanding of its 
most distinguishing characteristic. A new ray of 
hght falls on its history among the nations. The 
New Testament has become the Book of the Peoples 
isecause it began by being the Book of the People. 



1. Our estimate of the New Testament will be 
much the same as we have just stated if we now 
approach it from the point of view of hterary 
history. Here again it is the records of the world 
contemporary with the New Testament that have 
suppUed us with the right standard of criticism. 

In saying this we may seem at first to be 
preparing difficulties for ourselves. We have insisted 
more than once that the records referred to are to 
a great extent non-literary, yet now we claim that 
they throw light on literary questions. This seems 
to be self-contradictory ; and I can weU imagine 
that some readers will be astonished to hear me say 
that these poor scraps of papyrus, or potsherds 
inscribed with fragments of letters from unknown 
Egyptians, have taught me to understand the true 
nature of St. Paul's Epistles and, ultimately, the 
course by which Primitive Christianity developed 
on the literary side. But I ask the incredulous to 
give me a patient hearing.^ 

' For what follows of. the "Prolegomena to the Biblical Letters and 
Epistles" in Mbelstndien, 1895, pp. 187-252 [5iJte Stvdiei, pp. 1-59], and the 
article "Epistolary Literature" in the Encyclopaedia Biblica, II., London, 
1901, col. 1323 ft. ; also the outline in Beitrdge zur Wetterentwieklimg der 
chrutUchen Religion, Munchen, 1905, p. 119 ff. These sources have been 



The mention of the literary side of Primitive 
Christianity brings us to a branch of inquiry the 
importance of which has until now been all too little 
recognised. Whole libraries, it is true, have been 
written concerning the growth of the New Testament 
and the origin of its several parts, but the fact 
remains that it has seldom been viewed, as the literary 
historian would view it, in relation to the history of 
ancient literature. None but a very few scholars^ 
have felt the need of studying Primitive Christianity 
with the strictness of the literary historian. One 
honourable exception to be named here was Franz 
Overbeds, whose important study " On the Beginnings 
of Patristic Literature " ^ was published in 1882. As 
a general rule it is not so much as indicated that 
there is a problem to be solved, for the New 
Testament is approached with the preconceived 
idea that the Primitive Christian texts which owe 
their preservation to their inclusion in that book, 
were themselves without exception " books " and 
works of literature. 

But this preconceived idea must be given up. If 
we were to regard the New Testament merely as. 
an assemblage of little works of literature and treat 

made occasional use of here.— K. Dziatzko, article " Brief " in Pauly's Real- 
Encyclopddie der clatsisehen AUertumsmsienschaft, new edition by G. Wissowa, 
m., Stuttgart, 1899, col. 836 ff., takea the same view as regards the main 

' Historisohe Zeitschrift, 48, New Series 12 (1882) p. 429 fE. Views have 
been expressed on the problem by Georg Heinrici {Das Nene Testament nnS 
die wehristKche VberUeferung, Theol. Abhandlungen C. Weizsaecker gewidmet,. 
Freiburg i. B., 1892, pp. 321-352; Die EntstehvMg des Neuen Testaments,. 
Leipzig, 1899; Der Uterarische CharaHter der neutegtamentlielien Sehriften,. 
Leipzig, 1908) and Gustav Kriiger {Die MnlMehung des Nev^n Testaments,^ 
Freiburg i. B. u. Leipzig, 1896; Dot Dogma mm neuen Testament, Giessen, 
1896). Much may be expected from Paul Wendland's "Die urohristlichen 
Litteraturformen," a contribution to Lietzmann's Hamdhioh num Jfiewen- 
Testament. G. Misoh's ffeschiahte der AvtobiograpUe, I., Leipzig, 1907, is. 


it accordingly in our studies, we should commit the 
same mistake as an art-critic who proposed to treat 
a collection of fossils and ancient sculpture as if it 
contained nothing but works of art. We must not 
assume that the New Testament is literature from 
cover to cover. Whether it began as Uterature in 
its single parts is a question to be inquired about. 
The inquiry resolves itself into these questions : 
Did Primitive Christianity begin by being literary? 
When did it become so? What were the stages it 
went through in the process ? 

2. These questions, I think, have more than 
a. purely academic interest : they contribute to a 
thorough appreciation of what Primitive Christianity 
really was. But in order to answer them we must 
come to an understanding about the meaning of 
our term " Uterature " and about the various forms 
in which literature may find expression. 

The service here rendered us by the inscriptions, 
papyri, and ostraca is incalculable. Being them- 
selves non-hterary texts they remind us that a thing 
is not necessarily literature because it has been 
committed to writing and preserved in written form. 
Being also popular texts they accustom us, when we 
come to literature, to distinguish the popular from 
the artistic. 

What then is Uterature ? Literature is something 
written for the public (or at least for a public) and 
cast in a definite artistic form. 

A man, however, who draws up a lease or an 
application to some public official, or who writes 
a receipt or a letter, is not engaged in literature. 
Lease, application, receipt, letter, and a host of 
similar documents, are non-Uterary. They are the 



products not of art but of life ; their destiny is not 
for the pUbhc and posterity but for the passing 
moment in a workaday world. This it is that makes 
the thousands of non-literary texts, on stone, papyrus, 
or pottery, such delightful reading. In large measure 
they are records of life, not works of art : records 
testifying of work, joy, and sorrow, and never in- 
tended fqr us, though a bountiful fate, willing that 
we after-comers should enter into pure human 
contact with the past, has made them ours. 

There is one special class of these records of human 
life and work which the new discoveries have brought 
to hght again in astonishing plenty and most delight- 
ful freshness. These are ancient non-literary letters, 
exchanged by private persons on terms of intimacy, 
and preserved not in late copies but in their originals, 
on lead, papyrus, or earthenware fragment. What 
would have been impossible in the seventies and 
eighties of the last century is possible now, and a 
history of ancient letter-writing might really be 
written. Conceived most comprehensively, it would 
cover a period of several thousand years ; restricted 
to ancient letter-writing in Greek and Latin it would 
yet run to more than one thousand. 

To think of "literature" or to speak of "episto- 
lary htei-ature " in connexion with these hundreds of 
ancient original letters would be utterly perverse ^ (or 
only possible if we were to employ the word " litera- 
ture " in a secondary and colourless sense with regard 
to non-literary writing). The epistolary literature of 
antiquity is something altogether different. That is 
represented by the literary letter, the artistic letter, 

' R. Reitzenstein, BelUrmtisohe Wundereridhlungen, Leipzig, 1906, p. 98 f ., 
protests, with great justice, against the vagueness of the modem terms 
employed to discriminate between literary genres. 


the epistle,^ of which we shall have to speak later on. 
On the contrary, we must banish all thought of 
literature, of conscious artistic prose, when we turn 
the pages of the letters that have come down to us. 
They are texts from which we can learn what is non- 
literary and pre-literary. And that is precisely what 
we must learn if we are to understand the New 
Testament historically. 

3. Let us then from this abundance select a few 
specimens characteristic of the thousand years between 
Alexander the Great and Mohammed, beginning 
with the oldest Greek letter in existence and coming 
down to the letters of Egyptian Christians in the 
time before Islam, 

The little collection ^ wUl make admirably clear to 
us the essential nature of the letter and the forms it 
assumed in antiquity. The illustrations wiU give 
some idea of the inimitable individuality of each single 
original. We should give a false picture if we selected 
only the choicest specimens, so we have been careful 
to include some unimportant examples of average 

The collection has moreover a secondary purpose, 

' I employ this word technically to distinguish the artistic letter from the 
real letter. 

' Cf. also the collection of letters in Bihelgtvdien, p. 208 £. (a difEerent 
selection in Bible Studies, p. 21 fi.); Paul Viereck, Aus der hinterlassenen 
Frivatkorrespondenz dei alten Agypter, Vossische Zeitnng, 3 January, 1895, 
first supplement ; Erman and Erebs, Aus den Papyrus der Koniglichen Museen, 
p. 209 fi. (also 90S., etc.); B. Cagnat, Indiscretions arch^ologignes snr les 
figyptiens de rgpoqne romaine, Comptes lendus de I'Acadfimie des Inscriptions 
et Belles-Lettres, 1901, p. 784 fE.; L6on Lafoscade, Be epistulii (filUsque 
tituUt) vm/peratorwrn magittratv/umque Momwnorvm guas alb aetate Augugti 
usque ad Cojittantimim Qraeoe sciryptat Iodides pa/pyrive servaverwrnt. Thesis, 
Paris, 1902 ; Friedrich Freisigke, Familienbrief e aus alter Zeit, Freussische 
Jahrbiicher, 108 (April to June 1902) p. 88 fE.; E. Breccia, Spigolature 
papiracee, Atene e Boma, 5 (1902) col. 675 fE. ; and most especially l^istulae 
privatae Oraeeae quae in papyris aetatit Zagidarv/m servamtur, ed. Stanislaus 
Witkowski, Lipsiae, 1907. 


as will appear in the fourth chapter. It is to bring 
home to us certain types of the ancient soul. 

Letter from Mnesiergus, an Athenian, to his housemates, 4th 
century b.c, leaden tablet from Chaidari, near Athens, now 
in the Berlin Museum, discovered by R. Wiinsch, deciphered 
by him and A. Wilhelm (Figures 14 and 15). 

This letter is the oldest Greek letter hitherto 
known, and of the greatest importance especially for 
the history of epistolary forms. We are indebted 
for this valuable specimen to the careful labours of 
Richard Wiinsch ^ ; it was definitively deciphered 
and explained in masterly fashion by Adolf Wilhelm.^ 
By permission of the Imperial Austrian Archaeological 
Institute I am enabled to reproduce here a facsimile 
of the same size as the original. The tablet was 
originally folded together and perhaps fastened with 
string and seal. On the outside of the tablet is the 
address (Figure 14), which was written after the lead 
had been folded : — 

^epev^ t? TOP Kepafi- 
ov Toy yvrpiKov • 
diroSovai^ Be Navtriai 

fj 0paC7VK\7Jl fj ff vl&i. 

To be taken to the earthen- 
ware pottery market;* to 
be delivered to Nausias or to 
Thrasycles or to his son. 

On the inside, and with the lines running in the 
opposite direction, is the salutation ° and the text 

* Inscriptionei Graecoje, III, Pars III. Appendix inscriptionum Atticarum : 
defixionum tabellae in Attica regione repertae, 1897, p. lif. 

' Jahreshefte des Osterieichiscben Archaologischen Institutes in Wien, 7 
(1904) p. 94 fE. 
> On the infinitive absolute cf . p. 75, n. 4 above. 

* At Athens. 

' In the commentaries on the letters of St. Paul the salutation which serves 
as introduction to the body of the letter is generally spoken of as the addreis. 
That is not correct : the address, as shown by tins letter, the oldest that has 
come down to us, was written on the outside or on the cover of the folded 





■^fo' .js^^Sfl 




jJkv^' '0'^ /-i -'^' ' ^' "^i^ 





Fig. 14. 

Fig. 15. 

The Oldest Greek Letter yet discovered, Address (Pig. li) and Text (Fig. 15) : Mnesiergus of 
Athens to his Housemates. Leaden tablet, 4tli cent. B.C. Now in the Berlin Museum. By per- 
mission of the Imperial Austrian Archaeological Institute. 

[p. 148 


of the letter proper (Figure 15). It seems that 
Mnesiergus was in the country and had probably- 
been surprised by a sudden frost : — 

Ml/IJ (716/370? 

iwia-TeXe toi9 oikoi 

Xaipev Kal vyiaivev^ 

Koi avTo<i owTQ)9 e^aa\ic\e 

%Tir/aa-fia ei^ Tt jSoXetrre 

<B9 evTeXeffTd^ray^ Kal fir] 

Kal KaTvfiara : Tvxpv ' d'jro- 

Mnesiergus sendeth to them 
that are at his house greeting 
and health and he saith it is 
so with him. If^ ye be 
wiUing, send me some covering, 
either sheepskins or goat- 
skins,* as plain as ye have, 
and not broidered with fur, 
and shoe-soles : upon occasion 
I will return them. 

The contents of this letter, the earliest that we 
possess, are not particularly striking, it is true ; but 
whoever thinks them trivial must also regard as trivial 
St. Paul's request for the cloak that he left at Troas 
with Carpus (2 Tim. iv. 13). 

letter, and in St. Paul's case was no doubt much shorter than the salutation. 
Not one of St. Paul's letters preserves it. — On the ancient form of salutation 
used in this letter (and on the salutations generally) of. Qustav Adolf 
Gerhard, TJntersuchungen zur Geschiohte des griechischen Briefes. Brstes- 
Heft, Die Anfangsfonnel, Diss. Heidelberg, Tubingen, 1903, p. 32. 

' These two verbs occur in salutations in 2 Mace, i, 10, iz. 19. 

' The sentence with el is probably not, as Wilhelm supposes, the protasis to 
the concluding words, tvxJv diroSdrru, but a request made into an independent 
sentence by aposiopesis, as vivid and colloquial as the well authenticated 
request in Luke xxii. 42, Hdrep, el /SoiiXet irapeviyKai tovto t4 iroTiJptoc dflr" inov, 
" Father, if Thou wouldest remove this cup from Me I " [Professor Deiss- 
mann, it vrill be observed, deletes the comma before remove. It seems possible,. 
however, without assuming an aposiopesis, to take vapeviyKai or Avoviii^tu. as 
an infinitive absolute = imperative (cf . (pipev, diroSScat in the address of this 
letter), and to regard it as the apodosis. I have therefore ventured to harmonise 
the translation of the letter with the A.V. and E.V. of Luke xxii. 42. Te.] 

• This brief colloquial use of rvxio, for which there are other examples, 
occurs also in 1 Cor. xvi. 6, with the meaning " it may be." 

* [So Deissmann, according to Wilhelm's interpretation. It would alsO' 
seem possible to translate : " either sheepskins or leathern garments, be they 
never so shabby and with no more hair on them." Te.] 


Letter from Demophon, a wealthy Egyptian, to Ptolemaeus, a 
police official, circa 245 b.c, papyrus from mummy 
wrappings found in the necropolis of El-Hibeh, now in 
the possession of the Egypt Exploration Fund, discovered 
and published by Grenfell and Hunt^ (Figure 16). 

Arjfioffimv IlToXe- 
fiaioDi" x'^ipeiv. a7ro[<r]- 
T6i\ov ■q/uv eK irav- 
T09 rpoTTov rov av- 
5 XrjTTiv HerSivv €')(pv'T\a\ 
TOW? re ^pvyiovi; ai- 
\[o]v? Kal Tov<! Xoiirov's. 

eav Ti oeTjt dvr)\&<rai 
So?. Trapa Se ■^fi[&'\v ko/h- 
10 «'. atroa-TeCKov 8i ri[fi\lv 
Koi Zrjvo^iov rov puXa- 
Kov^ exovra rvfiiravov KaX 
Kv/i/3a\a ^ Kal KporaXa. 

a r^dp ia-ri rat? yvvai^lv 
15 r^v dvaiav. e)(er(o Se 
Kal l/utna-fiov <u$ dir- 
reiorarov. Kofuaat Be 

Demophon to Ptolemaeus, 
greeting. Send us by all 
means the piper Petoys with 
both the Phrygian pipes and 
the others. And if it is neces- 
sary to spend anything, pay 
it. Thou shalt receive it from 
us. And send us also Zenobius 
the effeminate, with tabret, 
and cymbals, and rattles. For 
the women have need of him 
at the sacrifice. And let him 
have also raiment as fair as 
may be. And fetch also the 
kid from Aristion and send it 

' The Hibeh Papyri, No. 54. — For the photograph here reproduced in slightly 
redaced facsimile (Figare 16), by kind permission of the Egypt Exploration 
Fund, I am indebted to the courtesy of Dr. (Jrenfell. 

' Ptolemaeus seems to have held some post in the police force of the nome 
lof Oxyrhynchus. 

' Wiloken's conjecture. 

' The word is no doubt used in its secondary (obscene) sense, as by St. Paul 
in 1 Cor, vi. 9. It is an allusion to the foul practices by which the musicians 
eked out their earnings. Cf. the remarks in Chapter IV. on the lists of 
Tioes (p. 321, n. 1). 

' St. Paul is thinking of cymbals such as these, employed for religions 
music, in 1 Cor. ziii. 1. 

Fig. 16.— Letter from Demophon, a wealthy Egyptian, to Ptolemaeus, 
a police official, ' circa 245 B.o. Papyrus from Hibeh. Now in the 
possession of the Kgjpt Exploration Kund, by whose permission it 
is here repsoducerl, 

'^ [p. 150 


KoX rov ept,(j)ov^ irapa 'Api<T- 
na>vo<! Kal irifif^ov rifilv. 
20 Kol TO tr&fia ' Se ' ei avvei- 
\7)<l)a<s TrajoaSo? [[awTo]]* 
Sefuj>del OTTCt)? aiiro Si- 
aKopiaTfi rjfuv. a/irotr- 
TeCKov Se rfjuv KOi tv- 

25 poii^ oiTov<} av Svin/i Kal 
Kepa/jjOV Ka[i\vbv Kal Xd- 
^ai/a 7r[oi'T]pSa7rA koI 
ikv oyfrov ri e%i;t[?.] 

30 ifi^aXov Se ayj^ Kal <f)v- 
Xaxtra; oi avvBuiKOfuov- 
aiv [[?]] TO 7r\oro[i'.] 

to us. Yea, and if thou hast 
taken the slave, deliver him 
to Semphtheus that he may 
bring him to us. And send 
us also cheeses as many as 
thou canst, and new earthen- 
ware, and herbs of every kind, 
and delicacies if thou hast 


Put them on board and 
guards with them who will 
help in bringing the boat over. 

Endorsed : 


To Ptolemaeus. 

The letter gives us a glimpse of the domestic life 
of an obviously weU-to-do family. A festival is 
coming on: mother and daughter insist that at the 
sacrifice (and sacrificial dance ?) flutes and the rattle 
of castanets shall not be wanting, and of course the 
musicians must be nicely dressed. Then come 
anxieties about the festive meal, from the roast to 
the dessert, not forgetting the new crockery that 
must be bought for kitchen and table, and added to 

' No doubt to famish the roast meat at the feast, such as the brother of 
the Prodigal Son considered himself entitled to (Luke zv. 29). 

' a-Q/ia means " slave," as frequently in the Greek Old and New Testaments 
(^BibeUtudien, p. 158 ; Bible Studies, p. 160). This example is of exactly the 
same date as the oldest portions of the Septuagint, and comes from the land 
of the Septuagint. — The slave had run away from Demophon, as Cnesimus did 
from Philemon (cf. St. Paul's letter to Philemon). 

' Si after koI and standing as the fourth .word of the sentence, as in Uatt. x. 
18, John vi. 51, 1 John i. 3. 

* The word enclosed in double brackets was erased by the writer of the 


this the annoyance of the runaway slave — really, as 
master of the house, there is much for Demo- 
phon to think of; and it is no light matter, the 
transport of man and beast, pottery, cheese, and 
vegetables. But there, friend Ptolemaeus, who is 
over the guards, will lend a few of his men who 
can help the boatmen, and money shall be no 
obstacle. Altogether the details of the proposed 
festival remind us of the slight but very lifelike 
touches with which Jesus pictures the feast at the 
return of the Prodigal Son.* 

Letter from Asclepiades, an Egyptian h/ndowner, to Portis, his 
tenant, b.c. — (Ptolemaic period), ostracon from Thebes, 
now in the possession of Ulrich Wilcken and published 
by him ^ (Figure 17). 

This is a private receipt, written, Uke so many 
others,' in the form of a private letter. It is inserted 
here as a characteristic example of a letter written by 
some other person's orders. 

yovroi [(peiv). 

rioprtri, Ilepfidfiioi X"'^ 
'Avexo)^ irapa aov to CTrt- 

jSaXXov ' 
/loiiKipopiov Kal i7rir/ev'i}{fia) 

Asclepiades, the son of Char- 
magon, to Portis the son of 
Permamis, greeting. I have 
received* from thee the fruit 
that falleth to me^ and in- 
crease of the lot that I have 

' Lxike XV. 22 fE. 

' GrieoTmche Otirdka, II. No. 1027. The facsimile there given (Plate Ilia) 
is reproduced here (Fig. 17) by the kind permission of the author and Messrs. 
Giesecke and Devrient, Leipzig. 

' Cf. examples above, pp. 105, 111. 

' Cf. above, pp. 110 fE. 

' A regular formula, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke xv, 12 ; 
cf . Neue SiieUtudien, p. 67 ; Sible Studies, p. 230. 

Fig. 17. — Letter from Asclepiades, an Egyptian landowner, to Portis. 
Ptolemaic Period. Ostracon from Thebes. Now in the possession of Ulrioh 
Wilcken. Reproduced by permission of the owner and his publishers. 

[p. 162 


5 o5 i/iia-0ioad aot KKrjpov 

el<i Tov (Tiropov tov K€ L 

Kovdev (701 evKoXS). 

"Eypayfrev virep ^ aHjov) 
Evfir)(\o<s)'Epiia{. . . .) 

a^iwdel^ Sia to ^paSv- 
10 repa * avTov ypa{^eiv). 

let to thee, for the sowing of" 
the year 25, and I lay nothing 
to thy charge. Written for * 
him hath Eumelus, the son of 
Herma . . . ., being desired 
so to do for that he writeth 
somewhat slowly.* In the- 
year 25, Phamenoth 2. 

' This "for," meaning "as representative of," occurs in many texts of 
similar character, and is not without bearing on the question of 6ir4p in the? 
New Testament. 

2 This is no doubt a euphemism, but it helps to explain a habit of St. Paul, 
the artisan missionary. St. Paul generally dictated his letters, no doubt, 
because writing was not an easy thing to his workman's hand. Then in his 
large handwriting (Gal. vi. 11), over which he himself makes merry {Bibel- 
itudien, p. 264 ; Bidle Stiidies, p. 348 ; Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor^ 
Oct. 1908, p. 383), he himself adds the conclusion, which perhaps begins at 
verse 2 of chapter V. According to ancient procedure the autograph con- 
clusion was proof of authenticity, cf. C. G. Bruns, Die TJnterschriften in den 
romischen Bechtsurkunden, Philologische und Historische Abbandlungen der- 
Eoniglichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin aus dem Jahre 1876, pp. 
41-138, especially pp. 69 f., 81, 83, 90, 121, 137. Wiloken called my attention to- 
this important essay. Dziatzko, in the article quoted at p. 144 above, refers tO' 
the statement of C. Julius Victor (JRhet. lot. mm. p. 448 Halm) : observabant 
veteres carissimis sua manu scribere vel plurimum subscribere, " to very|intimate 
correspondents the ancients used to write or, very often, sign the letter with their 
own hand. " The hundreds of autograph signatures to papyrus letters are greatly 
in need of investigation at the present time. A study of them vrould lead to a 
better appreciation of that extremely important passage in 2 Thess. iii. 17,. 
which some most strangely regard as a mark of spuriousness : "the salutation 
of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every letter : so I write."" 
The token (the last line or two in autograph) has the same significance as the 
symbolvm, which in other cases was sometimes given to the bearer to take 
with him as proof of his commission ; cf . the pre-Christian letter of Timoxenus 
to Mosohion, preserved in the Passalacqua Papyrus {_Bibelstudien,, p. 212 f.. 
[not given in Biile Studies]; Witkowski, Ilpistulae privatae, No. 25), and 
Letronne, Notices et Extraits, 18, 2, p. 407 f. In one of the letters of Plato 
(No. 13, Mpixtologrcuphi Graed rec. Budolphus Heroher, Parisiis, 1873, p. 528) 
^i/iPoKoy actually has the same meaning as aniMiov in St. Paul : a sign of 
authenticity contained in the letter itself. — From his own statement, just 
quoted, it follows of course that St. Paul appended an autograph conclusion 
to all his letters, even where he does not expressly say so. The recipients- 
observed it at once by the difference in the handwriting. Cf. the remarks on 
letter No. 5 below, p. 158 f. In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians th& 
autograph conclusion begins at x. 1. 



Letter from Hilarion, an Egyptian labourer, to Alis, his wife, 
Alexandria, 17 June, 1 b.c., Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, 
now in the possession of the Egypt Exploration Fund, dis- 
covered and published by Grenfell and Hunt ^ (Figure 18). 

The letter is of a very vulgar type, although the 
writer makes efforts at the beginning, e.g. not to 
forget the iota adscript.* 

'iXaplmv a ' "AKni Trji 

aSe'K<j)rjo * TrXecoTa p^at- 
petv Kal BepovTi Trj Kvpia ^ 

fwv Kal 'AiroXKta- 
vdpiv. yLvaxTKe ms ert Kal 

vvv iv ^A\e^av- 
Spea '<T/JLev. fir/ ar/avia^, 

ebv oKa<i eh- 
•jTopevovTai^ eym iv 'AXe^- 

avSpea fiivm. 
epa)T& ' <re Kal irapaKaXm 

ae eiri/ieX'^- 
d^rjTyi Tw •jraiZito koI eav 

ev6v<! oyjrmvi- 

Hilarion to Alis his sister,* 
many greetings. Also to Be- 
rus my lady * and Apollonarin. 
Know that we are still even 
now in Alexandrea [sic]. Be 
not distressed if at the general 
coming in * I remain at Alex- 
andrea. I pray' thee and 
beseech thee, take care of the 
little child. And as soon as 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, IV. No. 744. — A photograph was very kindly 
<obtained for me by Dr. Grenfell, and from this was made the sightly reduced 
iaosimile (Fig. 18) which is here reproduced by permission of the Egypt 
Exploration Fund. — The letter has also been published by Lietzmann, 
6frieohiaehe Papyri, p. 8f., and Witkowski, ^iHulae privatae, p. 97 f. 

' Witkowski prints it wherever Grenfell and Hunt have inserted the iota 
subscript, which Hilarion did not use. I give the text without alteration, so 
.as not to detract from its vulgar character. 

' The o is a slip of the writer. 

* Alis is Hilarion's wife. " Sister " might be a tender form of address, but is 
probably to be taken literally : marriages between brother and sister were not 
uncommon in Egypt. Of. Egon Weiss, Endogamie und Fxogamie im romischen 
£aiserreich, Zeitsohrift der Savigny-Stiftnng fur Eeohtsgesohichte, Vol. 29. 
Bomanistische Abteilung, p. 351 S. 

' A courteous form of address in letters, as in 2 John i. and v. 

' Probably the return of Hilarion's fellow-workmen from Alexandria to 
Oxyrhynchus is referred to. 

' ipuT&u, " I pray (thee)," generally explained as a Semiticism in the Greek 
Bible, is common in popular texts : Bibelgtudien, p. 45 ; Wtme Bibelitvdien, 
p. 23 ; Bible Studies, pp. 290, 195. 

Fig 18 —Letter from Hilarion, an Egyptian labourer, to Alls, his wife. Papyrus, 
written at Alexandria, 17 June, 1 B.C. Now in the possession of the Egypt Exploration 
Fund, by whose permission it is reproduced. ^.^ ^^ 


OP 'Kd^oDfiev ^ aTTOffTeXw ae ^ 

avto. eav 
•troKKa ttoWwj/' TeK7]<s, eav 

^v aptre- 
10 vov a^e<i, ekv fiv Qrjkea 

etpnfKa<i ' he 'A(j)poBi<riaTi, 

OTi firj fie 
e.iriXdBri's. irSt'i hvvafuii <re 

\a6eiv ; ipcorm * a-e oiv tva 

/IT) aryo)- 


we receive wages ^ I will send 
thee * up. If thou . . } art 
delivered, if it was a male 
child, let it (live); if it was 
female, cast it out.* Thou 
saidst * unto Aphrodisias, 
"Forget me not." How can 
I forget thee ? I pray * thee, 
therefore, that thou be not 
distressed. In the year 29 of 
the Caesar, Pauni 23. 

15 L ic6 Kaiaapoi Ilavvi Ky. 

Endorsed : 
'iTuipiatv "AXiTi avoSov. | Hilarion to Alis. Deliver. 

The situation in this letter is clear as to- the chief 
facts. Hilarion is working for wages in the metropolis, 
Alexandria, and intends to remain there although his 
fellow-workmen are already about to return home. 
Anxiety is felt for him at home at Oxyrhynchus by 
his wife Alis, who is living with (her mother ?) Berus 
and (her only child ?) Apollonarin. She is expecting 
her confinement ; gloomy thoughts arise within her : 

' A regular f onnala, as in the New Testament : Neite Siielitudien, p. 94 ; 
Bible Studies, p. 266. 

' Hilarion has written the accusative instead of the dative. He means, " I 
will send (them) up to thee." 

' rdfAaroWav has not yet been explained. Witkowski thinks it implies a 
wish, quod bene vertat, something like " great, great luck I " Other conjectures 
in Grenf ell and Hunt, and Lietzmann ; cf . also 0. von Wilamowita-Moellendorffi, 
Oottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1904, p. 662; A. Hamack, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 
29 (1904) col. 457. 

* On the exposure of infants in antiquity Lietzmann quotes Justinus, 
Apol. I. 27 ft, who condemns the custom severely. See also J. GefEcken, Zwei 
grieohitehe Apologeten, Leipzig und Berlin, 1907, p. 283 ; and especially Ludwig 
Mitteis, Reiohtrecht imd Volkirecht in den datUaJien Provinzen des romischen 
K<merreich», Leipzig, 1891, p. 361. 

* No doubt Aphrodisias had been commissioned to convey this piteous 
injimclion to the absent husband. 

* See note 7 on previous page. 


Hilarion has forgotten me, he sends neither letter 
nor money, and where is bread to come from for the 
growing family? She confides her trouble to her 
friend Aphrodisias, who is going to Alexandria, 
and through her Hilarion hears of his wife's sad 
case. He sends the letter (by his comrades who are 
returning home, or by Aphrodisias) : words merely, 
no money (the wages are said to be not yet paid), 
and in spite of a tender line for the child, in spite 
of the sentimental " Howe'er can I forget thee ? " ^ 
nothing but brutal advice in the main : if it is a girl 
that you are bringing into the world, expose it. Has 
custom blunted the fatherly instinct in him? Has 
poverty made him unfeeling towards his own flesh 
and blood ? Is he, as his name implies, a gay dog, 
a good-for-nothing, to whom it is all one so long as 
he can have his pleasure in the great city ? Or are 
we doing him an injustice, because we do not under- 
stand that mysterious poUapollon ? But there is no 
explaining away the fact that a child is expected and 
is perhaps to be exposed. I have met with a striking 
parallel in Apuleius ^ : a man setting out on a journey 
orders his wife, who is in expectation of becoming 
a mother, to kiU the child immediately if it should 
prove to be a girl. 

In any case, therefore, the letter displays a sad 
picture of civilisation in the age which saw the birth 
of the great Friend of Children, a scene in which the 
fortunes of a proletarian family are reflected in their 
naked horror, a background of distinct contrast to 
what Jesus said of the value of children. In the 
time of poor Alis mothers innumerable, who found 
it diflicult to be motherly owing to the scarcity of 

' [There is a Gennaii song beginning " Wie konnt' ich Dein vergessen." Tb.] 
' Meta/morpTiosei, ed. Eyssenhardt, x. 23. 

Fig. 20. 

Letter from Mystarion, an Eg'yptian olive-planter, to Stotoetis, a chief 
priest, Address (Fig. 19) and Text (Fig. 20), 13 September, 50 A.D. Papyrus 
from the Fayijm. Now in the Imperial Postal Museum at Berlin. Eepro- 
duced by permission of the Museum authorities. 

p. 167 


daily bread, were wailing for that which to us — such 
is the extent of the moral conquests made by the 
Gospel— seems to be a thing of course. A century 
and a half later the Epistle to Diognetus (v. 6) 
boasts that the Christians do not expose their 

Letter from Mystarion, cm Egyptian olive-plcmter, to Stotoetis, a 
chief priest, 13 Sept. 50 a.d., papyrus from the Fayum, 
now in the Imperial Postal Museum at Berlin, published 
by Fritz Krebsi (Figures 19 and 20). 

Mvarapiav Stot6'>]ti, tS>c 

lSia)i^ ■TrKeiiTTa j^at/aeti'. 

"Eirefi't^a vfieiv BXdarov ' 

Tov i/ihv [roi)<! 

X^iv Siy(C\(ov* ^vXmv ei's 
iKai&vd^^ fwv. "Opa oZv 

firj avrov [avTOV 

KaTda-j(r]i, olSai yap ttw? 

Mystarion to his own^ 
Stotoetis, many greetings. 

I have sent unto you my 
Blastus' for forked (?)* sticks 
for my olive-gardens.* See 
then that thou stay him not. 
For thou knowest how I need 
him every hour. 

' Aegyptiache TTrlmmden ami den Koenigliehen Museen zu Berlin, Griechitehe 
Vrkimden, No. 37 (with date and reading corrected, I. p. 353), cf. BibeUtvMen, 
p. 213 [not given in Bible Studies], where the old reading is followed. For the 
photographs from which, with the permission of the Imperial Postal Museum, 
the facsimiles (Figs. 19, 20) were' made, I am indebted to the kind offices of 
W. Schubart. The illustrations reduce the size of the originals by about one 

* fStos, " his own," is used quite in the colourless Biblical sense (without any 
emphasis on " own "). Cf . Bibelstudien, p. 120 f . ; Bible Studies, p. 123. 

• The epistolary use of the aorist. For this whole line cf . St. Paul's frenfa 
i/uv TinSeeov, " I have sent unto you Timotheus," 1 Cor. iv. 17, and similar 

* Presumably equivalent to Stx^Xav, and with decolorisation of the meaning, 
in a general sense « cleft, forked." Hermann Diels (letter, Berlin W., 22 July, 
1908) would rather take it as dtirxMur, " two thousand." 

* The New Testament word [Acts i. 12, " Olivet." Tk.], so strangely rejected 
by Blass [ehrammar, Eng. trans.* 82, 64, 85. Tr.], cf. Neve Bibelitudien, 
p. 36 ff. ; Bible Studies, p. 208. On the translation of els by " for," of. BibeUtudien, 
p. 113flE.;iVe«e Bibelstudien, p. 23; Bible Studies, pp. 117, 194; this use, found 
in both LXX and N.T., is not Semitic, but popular Hellenistic Greek. 


(In another hand:) eppaao. 

L la Tt^eplov KXavSiov 

Kaia-apoi Se^aarov 

10 repfi[a\viKo[v] AvTOKparo- 

po[9] /ir}(vl)Se^a{aT&i)ie 

(In another hand ;) Farewell. 

In the year 11 of Tiberius 
Claudius Caesar Augustus 
Germanicus Imperator in the 
month of August 15. 

Endorsed m the first hand : 

Stototjti Xeawvr) ^ ei<s ttjv 1 To Stotoetis, chief priest,* 
vfjaov t[?]. I at the island (?). 

I give this little text, belonging to the time of the 
Pauline mission, as an example of the letters of com- 
mendation which St. Paul mentions more than once 
(2 Cor. iii. 1 ; 1 Cor. xvi. 3) and himself employed 
(Rom. xvi.). In the wider sense, at least, it is a 
letter of recommendation. The Latin letter printed 
below (No. 12) is an example in the narrowest 
sense of the word. 

The situation contained in the letter is extremely 
simple, but for all that the document has an im- 
portant bearing on the disputed passage in 2 Thess. 
iii. 17.^ St. Paul, we are told, has not in fact 
furnished all his letters with a salutation in his own 
hand, therefore the words "which is the token in 
every epistle " cannot be genuine. But the premise 
from which this argument starts is a sheer petitio 
prindpii. We must not say that St. Paul only 
finished off with his own hand those letters in which 
he expressly says that he did.'* Mystarion's letter, 
with its greeting and the rest of the conclusion in 
a different writing, namely in Mystarion's own hand, 

' "Lesonis" is a newly discovered title of the Egyptian priesthood, of. 
Wilcken, Archiv f. Papyrusforschung, 2, p. 122 ; and particularly W. Spiegel- 
beig, Der Titel XeirSyis, Reoueil de travaux rel. 4 la philol. 6gypt. et assyr. 
1902, p. 187 ff. 

* Of. p. 163, n. 2 above. 

' 2 Thess. iii. 17 ; 1 Cor. xvi. 21 ; Gal. vi. 11 ; Col. iv. 18. 


was written only a few years before St. Paul's second 
letter to the Christians of Thessalonica, and it prove* 
that somebody at that date closed a letter in his own 
hand without expressly saying so/ It miist not be 
forgotten that we can have no proper conception of 
what a letter was Uke unless we have seen the 
original ; the copies in books and most certainly the 
printed editions have taken more from the letters of 
St. Paul than is generally suspected,^ while on the 
other hand they have facilitated the discussion of 
problems that originated in the study as mere 
hallucinations of overtasked brains. The soldier 
Apion, whose acquaintance we shall make in letters 
9 and 10, had the unsophisticated man's natural 
feeling for the significance of the original handwriting 
of a letter : the mere sight of his father's handwriting 
makes him tender and affectionate. In much the 
same way a contrast of handwriting awakes in 
St. Paul a mood half jesting and half earnest.' 


Letter from Harmiysis, a small Egyptian farmer, to Papiscus,, 
an official, and others, 24 July, 66 a.d., papyrus from 
Oxyrhynchus, now in the Cambridge University Library,, 
discovered and published by Grenfell and Hunt * 
(Figure 21). 

This is a good example of a communication to the 
authorities couched in the form of a letter. The 

' There is another good instance, I think, in a letter of the 2nd cent, a.d., 
Berliner Giiechlsche TJrkunden, No. 815; cf. Gregor Zereteli, Arohiv £iir 
Papymsforschnng, 1, p. 336 ff., and the facsimile there given. 

' In all probability, for instance, the date of writing and the address. 

' Cf. GaJ. vi. 11 ff., and BiheUtvdien, p. 264 ; Bible Studies, p. 848. 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (n.) No. 246. A facsimUe of lines 1-31 is given 
there in Plate Vn. With the consent of the Egypt Exploration Fruid 
I reprodnce it here in slightly reduced form (Figure 21). 


name of the addressee is politely placed at the begin- 
ning, as often in official correspondence, ^ 

Tfji 7ro\e«»9 Kal arpa{TrfyS>t) 

Koi IlToXefjiM(^La)i) ^a<riXi- 

K&[i 'ypa(fjL/j,aTei)] 
Kal roK lypcujiovai, tov vo- 

S irapa Apiii,va-i,o<s tov He- 

bo-] ^ 
fftpto? TOV IleToaipio^ M'[v~\ 
T/30? Aihvurji Tri<s Aior^k- 

tSsv onto KmnTj'! ^6dy)^u)<i\ 
Trjt irpo<i airrfX.KOTriv rg- 

^ [7r(a/)X''a5)-] 
10 aTreypaylrdfiTiv Twt eV[eo'-] 
TwTi ijS L Nipa>vo['!] 
KXavSiov Kaiffapoi 
Se^aa-Tov TepiJuaviKov 
AvTOKpdTopo<; irepl ttjv 

15 aVTTjV ^d&JflV OTTO 7[o-] 

i/^? Siv e)(oi dpefiiidT(o\ii\ 
apvdi SeKa Svo . ical vv[v] 
aTToypd^o/iai tou? 67r[t7e-] 
yovoTUi; ets ttju ivea-T[&aav] 
!20 SevTepav diroypcufy^v a[7ro] 
yovfji r&v avr&v ffpe/j^/Mci-^ 
Ttov dpva<s ewTd, yuvoi^Tai] 
apvef eirrd. koX onv\yu>\ 
Nepeova KXavBiov Kai- 

To Papiscus, former cos- 
metes of the city and now 
strategus of the Oxyrhynchite 
nome, and Ptolemaeus, royal 
scribe, and the writers of the 
nome, from Harmiysis, the 
son of Petosiris (the son of 
Petosiris), his mother being 
Didyme, the daughter of Dio- 
genes, of the men of the vil- 
lage of Phthochis which is 
towards the east of the pro- 
•vince.' I enrolled' in the 
present 12th year of Nero 
Claudius Caesar Augustus Ger- 
manicus Imperator, nigh unto 
that same Phthochis, of the 
young of the sheep that I 
have, twelve lambs. And now 
I enrol those that have since 
been bom, for the present 
second enrolment ; of the 
young of those same sheep 
seven lambs — they are seven 
lambs.* And I swear by Nero 

' Cf. BibeUtudAen, p. 209, n, 2 [not in Bible Studies]. 

2 [Or " toparchy " ; cf . 1 Mace. xi. 28. With regard to vojiis cf . BibeUtudien, 
p. 142 f. ; BibU Studies, p. 145. Tk,] 

' Techmcal expression for making a return. 
* I.e., " total seven." 



nAiWrnlSm Jccc m rrev. 

KAt JTTD AG/vTlA'" 1-^ J>^<^ 

d ! f JocTtiY nero ci Pi q c a, 


ixu nlAHC KjU) KA.HC J> e OwV 

yVtre r f A-j^^ M h i n -.. ."r f^ 
jcAAYA.'CY KKlcAfQc" 

I; ^VrrorfAc^oMAi'Ttj-jYtn 

' . roNOTAceicTHN€N£c 

20 , ^eYte/'>,NWrroff^\jh'iV. 

I [^^fHr^^^'AY■^tdN6pc^ 

\ -rTX)Nl/fMAC(?JTrArfKcK 

/pMc-cGnrA kA!oM_^ 

Fli_''_ l,..;,^-/^;.' 

Fig. 21. — Letter from Harmiysis, a small Egyptian farmer, to 

Paplscus, an oflBcial, and others, 24 July, 66 A.D., lines 1-31. Papyrus 

from Oxyrhynohus. Now in the Cambridge University Library. 

By permission o f the Egypt Explnratinn Fund. 

" [p. 160 



25 Se^aa-rov TepfiaviKov 

AvTOKparopa fir) v7re<rTg\X- 


Claudius Caesar Augustus 
Germanicus Imperator that I 
have kept back nothing. 


'ATToWdvio^ 6 ir(apa) Ila- 

GTpaTiffov <re<T7){^iJjeia>iJLai) 
apv(wi) ?. 
30 L i^ Nep(i)vo<: tov ku/s(/)o[u] 

In another hand : 

I ApoUonius, as commanded 
by Papiscus the strategus, have 
noted 7 lambs. 

In the year 12 of Nero the 
lord, Epiph 30. 

There follow, in a third and fourth hand, the signatures of 
the other officials to the same effect. 

The handwriting of this document is interesting 
on account of the clear, almost literary uncials of the 
main text, sharply distinguished from the cursive 
signatures of the attesting officials. We must 
imagine this state of things reversed in the case of 
the Epistle to the Galatians ; the handwriting of the 
amanuensis of Gal. i. 1-vi. 10 (or -v. 1) was probably 
cursive, and the autograph signature of St. Paul the 
stiff, heavy uncials' 6f a manual labourer ; the contrast 
was just as great. In regard to contents this text is 
one of the most important ^ evidences that the title 
Kyrios {" lord ") was applied to the emperor as early 
as the reign of Nero. It is not the farmer Harmiysis 
who employs it, but the officials use it three times 
over in their formal signatures. 

> Cf. Chapter IV. (p. 355 ff.) below. 



Letter from Nearchus, an Egyptian, to HeUodorus, 1st or 2nd 
cent. A.D., papyrus from Egypt, now in the British 
Museum, published by Kenyon and Bell ^ (Figure 22). 

Neapxo<S «[ 


Kal fJLexpi' Tov "TrXely e . [ 
fievoiv, "va Ta<i ;^6[t]joo'jr[otJ- 

rj[TOV<i T6-] 

S yyaii iaropria'wai,, iym irap- 

67rg[ti70-]a- ^ 
fvrfV Koi apdfievo^ avd- 

TrKo\yv 7r]a/o[a-] ' 
"yepofievo^ re eh re Soijva^ 

Kal odev rlyyjx^dr- 
vei Nei\o<! peav xal eh 

Aifivrjv oirov 
'AnfJMV vairiv dvdpmiroK 

10 [leal^ €v<(a-yTOfjLa^ urrop- 
[lyjffa Kal t&v ^iXav 
e\fJ[&v t]A ovofiara evexd- 
pa^a Toi? t[e-] 

pot? a6t/*V^^O'^T(»?^ TO 


[Two limes 

Nearchus . . . (to Helio- 
dorus) . . ., greeting. 

Since many . . . even unto 
taking ship,' that they may 
learn about the works made 
by men's hands, I have done 
after this sort and undertook 
a voyage up and came to 
Soene' and there whence the 
Nile flows out,* and to Libya, 
where Ammon sings oracles 
to all men,' and I learnt 
goodly things,^" and I carved 
the names of my friends ^^ on 
the temples for a perpetual 
memory, the intercession . . . 
washed out.^ 

' H\ioS6po). 

Endorsed ; 

To Heliodorus. 

« 6freek Fcupyri in the BrUish Muievm (Vol. III.), London, 1907, No. 854 
(p. 206) ; facsimile, Plate 28, here reproduced by kind permission of the 
British Museum (Figure 22). The letter is assigned by the editors to the first 
century ; Grenf ell and Hunt, as I was informed by Wiloken (letter, Leipzig, 
13 October, 1907) would place it in the second century. 

' Wilcken's reading, confirmed by Grenfell and Hunt. 

* Ditto (omitting Kal). 

[For notes i to 11 see next page. 

Fig. 22. — Letter from Nearchus, an Egyptian, to Heliodorus, 1st or 2nd cent. A.D. Papyrus from 
Egypt. Now in the British Museum. By permission of the Museum authorities. 

[p. 162 


This little fragment of a letter about travel is of 
great interest to the historian of civilisation. It also 
gives a good picture of the social piety which was 
already known to us from the assurances of mutual 
intercession in other papyrus letters. Nearchus ^ 
does not neglect to pray for his friends at the seats of 
grace, and, as if to make his intercession permanent, 
he inscribes their names on the temple walls. 

The writer seems to be a man of the middle class, 
but his style, despite faint echoes of the book- 
language, is on the whole non-literary.^ 

' Unfortunately nothing is known of the writer's identity. As moreorer 
we have no «xact data concerning the provenance of the papyras, the utmost 
that we can do is to suggest, without answering, the question whether this 
fragment may have belonged to the correspondence of the Heliodorns who 
is mentioned below (p. 227). 

' Eduard Norden, in a letter to me (3ros8-Lichterfelde W., 3 September, 
1908), disagrees with this view. 

Continuation of notes to p. 162 : — 

' The papyrus has eSroiui. The meaning would then be : " and I vigited 
regions easily tra/eersed " (in opposition to the dif&cult approach to the oasis). 
Hermann Diels (letter, Berlin W., 22 July, 1908) writes : " eUa-Totia = a/rcana, 
myxteria, I take to be a reminiscence of the Ai-yuirioitd of Herodotus (ii. 171), 
which then, as now, every traveller on the Nile had in his pocket." 

' Grenfell and Hunt's reading. 

" Perhaps: "Swice many now make journeys and resolve them even to 
a tea voyage." 

' = Syene. 

■ With regard to the supposed source of the Nile "between Syene and 
Elephantine," which occurs already in a story told to Herodotus (ii. 28) by 
the temple scribe at Sais, Wilcken refers me to Dittenberger, Orientis 0raeei 
InscripUones SeUetae, No. 168,, I. p. 243 f., and Arohiv fiir Papyrusforsohung 
3, p. 326. ' 

» The oracle of Jupiter Ammon in the oasis of Siwah is referred to. 

'» This refers either to the impressions of the journey in general or specially 
to a favourable oracle of the god Ammon. 

•' Inscriptions of this kind, the work of pilgrims and traveUers of the 
Ptolemaic and Imperial periods, still exist in great numbers, cf. the Egyptian 
inscriptions in the Corpus TnseripHomm, Graecwrwm. They generally contain 
the prosiynema, a special intercession at the place of pilgrimage for absent 
-friends and relatives. Let us hope that some of the proskynemata inscribed 
by Nearchus may yet be found. 



Letter from Irene, an Egyptian, to a family irt mourning, 2nd 
cent. A.D., papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, now in the Library 
of Yale University, U.S.A., discovered and published by 
Grenfell and Hunt ^ (Figure 23). 

Elprjvri Taovvm^pei koX 0lX(ovi 


ovrai eKvirrjOrfv eKKavaa ^ 


evfioiptoi,^ d><; iirl AiSv/mtov 
5 eicKavaa . Kai iravra, oaa ?iv ica- 
drjKovra hroirjaa Kal Travre? 
01 ifioi, 'EiratppoBeiTOi xal 

010V Kal ^lKiov Kal AttoWjuvio^ 
Kai n\avrd<i. aW' ofKov oiiSev 
10 hvvarai tk 7rp6<s to, roiavra. 
TraprjyopeiTe ovv iavTov'iJ' 
ev irpdrreTe. ^Adiip a.^ 

Irene to Taonnophris and 
Philo, good comfort. 

I was as sorry and wept 
over the departed' one as 
I wept for Didymas. And 
all things, whatsoever were 
fitting, I did, and all mine, 
Epaphroditus and Ther- 
muthion and Philion and 
ApoUonius and Plantas. 
But, nevertheless, against 
such things one can do 
nothing. Therefore comfort 
ye one another. Fare ye 
well. Athyr 1.* 

Endorsed . 

Taovvaxj>p€i Kal ^tkmvi. 

To Taonnophris and Philo. 

Philo and Taonnophris, a married pair at Oxy- 
rhynchus, have lost a son by death, and Irene, a friend 
of the sorrowing mother,* wishes to express her 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (I.), No. 115. A translation is also given by 
Preisigke, p. 109. Text and notes in TJ. von Wilamowitz-MoellendorfE, 
6fHeehisches Zeseiimh, I. 2», BerUn, 1906, p. 398, and II. 2', 1902, p. 263. 
For the facsimile (Figure 23) I am indebted to the kindness of Dr. Arthur 
S. Hunt. 

' Preterite of the epistolary style. 

" The word was first taken as a proper name, Ei/iolpm. But, as pointed out 
by B. J. Goodspeed, the article surely shows that the word is an adjective; 
of. Wiloken, Arohiv fiir Papyrusforsohung, 4, p. 260. This interpretation is 
supported by the parallel toS naxaplov of the ancient letter-writer, cf . below 
(p. 166). 

* Equivalent, I think, to dXXi^Xovs, as often in the N.T., e.g. Col. iii. 16. 

• = 28 October. 

' Tliat is why Irene in the letter names the mother before the father : 
Preisigke, p. 109. 



[p. 164 


S5ntnpathy. She can fully understand the grief of her 
Mends ; she weeps over again the tears that she shed 
before for her own lost one, the departed Didymas ^ : 
personal sorrow has made her sympathetic with other 
people's trouble. She speaks therefore of her own 
tears first. But she must write more than that : it is 
to be a letter of consolation. Irene, who knows how 
to write a business letter quickly and surely,^ experi- 
ences the difficulty of those whose business it is to 
console and who have no consolation to offer. And 
so she ponders over sentences to fill up the sheet : it 
will be a satisfaction to the mourners to hear that she 
and all her family have fulfilled all the duties of 
affection and decency that are customary in such 
cases.' But after these lines full of names, slowly 
written by great effort, the genuine feeling in her 
heart breaks through, that despairing resignation which 
speaks of inevitable fates. And then, illogical and 
truly womanly, the concluding injunction, " Comfort 
ye one another!" Who could help feeling for the 
helplessness of this woman, whose own sympathy was 
assuredly so true ? 

Poor Irene ! It is certainly with no wish to do her 
injustice that I call attention to the fact that similar 
formulae of consolation were common to the age. 
An ancient model letter-writer gives the following 
formulary * : — 

' Her husband (?) or, more probably, her son(?). 

" Of. her letter to the same family, The Oxyrhynohus Papyri, No. 116. To 
judge from this, Irene was a landed proprietress. 

" Funeral offerings ? Prayers ! One would gladly know more. 

' Proclus, De forma epistolari, No. 21 (EpUtolagrapM Graeei, reo. Hercher, 
p. 10). The authorship of this letter-writer has been sometimes attributed 
to Libanius, as well as to the Neo-Platonist Proclus (of. Karl Krumbaoher, 
6feschicMe der byzantinisohen lAteratm^ Munchen, 1897, p. 452, who rejects 
both attributions). I regard the text as a Christian adaptation of ancient 
models ; of. the Biblical intrusions noticed in the next footnote and in the 
formulary for a letter of contrition (see below, p. 181 on the letter of Antonis 


■fj eirtaroKri. \iav ■qfiat; r) 
ofiro^UoffK rov fiaKapiov tov 
Belvo<; ikvjrrja-e Kal irevOeiv Kai 
Saiepvetv rjvarfKaae • Toioxnov 
<^i\ov yhp trirovBaiov Koi trav- 
aperov iarep'^Orj/ji^v. So^a 
o?iv Koi atveai<s t& iv aoipia 
Kai aKaTdKrjiTTtp Bvvdfiet koI 
irpovola Kv^epv&vri 0em tA? 
Ste^oSous rm davdras Kal rtjv 
'yjrvxvv vvUa avfujjepei irapa- 

The letter. The death of 
N. N., now blessed, hath 
grieved us exceedingly and 
constrained us to mourn and 
weep; for of such an earnest 
and altogether virtuous friend 
have we been bereaved. Glory 
then and praise be to God, 
who in wisdom and incompre- 
hensible power and providence 
govemeth the issues to death, 
and, when it is expedient, re- 
ceiveth the soul unto Himself 

If the second half of this formulary shows signs of 
Biblical influence,^ the first half is obviously ancient 
and secular. Irene's letter exhibits very similar 
formulae, the resemblance of the opening lines being 
particularly striking. But it is not mere imitation ; 
the no doubt familiar formulae are animated by the 
personality of the writer, and we shall be justified in 
regarding even the concluding words of resignation 
as an expression of real feeling. That this feeling 
was a widespread one,^ and that it produced similar 
thoughts in another formulary for a letter of con- 
solation,' need be no objection to the view we have 

St. Paul doubtless was thinking of such despairing 
souls in his letter to Thessalonica, when he inserted 
these words of comfort for the Christians in trouble 
for their dead * : — 

' Cf. the whole tenor and especially LXX Psalm Ixvii. [Ixviii.] 20, toB Kvplov 
al S(^{o8m tov, " unto the Lord belong the issues from death," and 
John xiv. 3, irapaMniyl/oiiai, i/ias irpbs i/iavriv, "I will receive yon unto 
,^ ' Wiloken recalls a saying frequent in epitaphs, " No one is immortal." 

" Demetrius Phalereus, Typi epistolares. No. 5 QBpistolegrapM, rec. Hercher, 
p. 2), iyvo^Sels di Sm t4 toioSto iroArlv icnv inroKel/ieva . . ., " bearing in mind 
that such dispensations are laid upon ns all." '1 Thess. iv. 13. 


« But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, 

concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, 

even as others which have no hope." 

And then with all the realism of an ancient popular 

writer he unfolds a picture of the Christian's future 

hope, culminating in the certainty ^ : — 

" And so shall we ever be with the Lord," 
To which he immediately adds, in conclusion, the 
exhortation ^ : — 

" Wherefore, comfort one another with these words," 

reminding us of the ending of Irene's letter of con- 
solation,' except that behind St. Paul's words there 
is not the resignation of the " others " but a victorious 
certitude, triumphiog over death. 


Letter from Apion, an Egyptian soldier in the Roman army, to his 
father Epimachits, Misenum, 2nd cent, a.d., papyrus from 
the Fayiim, now in the Berlin Museum, published by Paul 
Viereck * (Figure 24). 

This splendid specimen has been frequently trans- 

' 1 ThesB. iv. 17. 

= 1 Thess. iv. 18. 

' Irene : iraprf^opetre oiv ^avroi^s. { St. Faiil : Siure vapaKaKetre AW/jKovs, etc, 
St. Paul doubtless adopted the exhoitation £com the epistolary f oimulae of the 
age (of. also 1 Thess. v. 11, and later Heb. iii. 13). The model letter of 
consolation already quoted fiom Demetrius Fhaleieus, No. 5, also ends with 
the exhoitation : xaSiis iWip wapyveaas, aainif Tapaipeaov, " as thou hast 
admonished anothei, admonish now thyself." 

* AegyptUehe UrJmnden aut den Eoeniglwhen Museen, xu Berlin (II.), No. 423 
(cf . II.-p. 356). For the photograph here facsimiled by kind permission of the 
directors of the Boyal Museums at Berlin, I am indebted to W. Schubart. The 
figure is about one-third smaller than the original. 

' By Viereck in his article in the Vossische Zeitnng ; by Erman and Krebs, 
p. 214 f . ; by Cagnat, p. 796 ; by Preisigke, p. 101 f. 




^ 'Airuov 'Em/jLaxtu r&t irarpi koI 

KvpUo ^ TfKeloYa 'Xaipetv. irpo fiev Trdv- 
Tmv evxofiai ae vyiaiveiv ^ /cal Sia ttasi'to? 
ipafiivov evrvxeiv fiera tjj? d8e\.<^<s 
Hov KOI T^s Ovyarpbi avT^i; xal rod aSe\<pov 
imv. Evxapia-rm ' r& Kvpiw * SepdiriSi, 
OTi fiov KivSvvevaain-o<; el<s ffaXaa-a-av ' 
eaaae evdeax; *. ore ela-fjXdov et? M17- 
<rr}vov<! ', eXa^a ' ^idriKOV ' Trapa Kaiaapoi; 

^^ c> o, XP^'^°^f Tpeli. Kal Ka\m /loi eernv. 

ipcarm ^" ae oZv, Kvpii ^ fiov Trarrjp, 
ypdyfrov fwi iviaroXiov irp&TOv 
fi^v irepl ri}? acorripLcvi ^^ trov, Sev- 
repov irepi t^? r&v dBe\<f>&v pjov, 

15 ^ ei Tp\i\rov, iva <rov irpoa-Kwija-eo rijv 

X^pav '^, OTI, fie iiraiheva-a'i KdKm<! 
Kal ex TovTOv iXiri^co rayy irpoKo- 
aai ^' T&v de\S>\v 6e\6vTtov ". dcnraa-at ^^ 
Kafirl,TO>v[a ttoJWA ^' Kal To[p<i] dSe\(j>ov<} 
[fi\ov Kal Se[pTivl]XKav Kal To[i)'i] ^iXov} fio[y.] 
"Enrefif^d o-p[t el\K6viv ^^ //■[ou] Sta Evktij- 
fiovoi. 6<r[T]i [Si] fiov ovofia ^Avrmvif Md- 
^ifW! '^ 'Eppmadai are eiixop-ai. 

KevTvpl{a) 'AOrjVoviKr) ^^. 

3 o The address on the back : 

28 'T^T-' e[ts] ^[tXlaSeX^iav^" 'Emuy^dxo) dvo 

'. '. 'Airion)o<i vlov. 

Two lines nmnimg in the opposite direction have been added *' ; 
'^TToSos eh j^(»pTj;i» TrpCfiav'^y'A'irafirjv&v 'Io[v\i\a[v]ov 

30 Xi^[\ap'uo diro 'Amcavoi &<t t6 'Evi/idx<o irarpl ai/rov. 

' Lord, here and in 1. 11, is a child's respectful form of address. 

' A freqnent formnla in papyrus letters, cf. BihelstuMen, p. 214 (not in 
Bihh Studies), and the similar formula in 3 John 2, ve/A it&vtuiv eixo/ial 
ire eioSoOffSai Kal iyialpav, "I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper 
and be in health." Misunderstanding this formula, many commentators on 
the Third Epistle of St. John hare assumed that Gaius, the addressee, had 
been ill immediately before. 

* This is a thoroughly " PanUne " way of beginning a letter, occurring also 
elsewhere in papyrus letters (cf. for instance Bibelstudien, p. 210 ; it is not 
given in Bible Studies). St. Paul was therefore adhering to a beantifnl 



























P tu 














,' . 





Fig. 24. — Letter from Apion, an Egyptian soldier in the Eoman Army, to his 
father Epimachus, Misenum, 2nd cent. A.D. Papyrus from the Fayftm. Now in 
the Berlin Museum. By permission of the Directors of the Royal Museums. 

[p. 168 


Apion to Epimachus his father and lord,' many greetings. 
Before all things I pray that thou art in health,* and that thou 
dost prosper and fare well continually together with my sister 
and her daughter and my brother. I thank' the lord* Serapis 
that, when I was in peril in the sea,® he saved me immediately.* 
When I came to Miseni' I received as viaticvmi' (journey- 
money) &om the Caesar three pieces of gold. And it is well 
with me. I beseech thee therefore, my lord ' father, write unto 
me a little letter, firstly of thy health, secondly of that of my 
brother and sister, thirdly that I may do obeisance to thy 
hand*^ because thou hast taught me well and I therefore 
hope to advance quickly, if the gods will.'* Salute'* Capito 
much '* and my brother and sister and Serenilla and my friends. 
I sent [or " am sending "] thee by Euctemon a little picture '' 
of me. Moreover my name is Antonis Maximus.'* Fare thee 
well, I pray. Centuria Athenonica.'* There saluteth thee 
Serenus the son of Agathus Daemon, and . . . the son of . . . 
and Turbo the son of Gallonius and . . . 

TTie address on the back : 
To Philadelphia *" for Epim^achus from Apion his son. 

7\eo lines rwining m the opposite direction have been added *' ; 
Give this to the first Cohort vx of the Apamenians to(?) 

J^ Julianus An . . . 
the Liblarios, from Apion so that (he may convey it) 

to Epimachus his father. 

secular custom when he so frequently began his letters with thanks to God 
(1 Thess. 1. 2 ; 2 Thess. i. 3 ; Col. i. 3 ; Philemon 4 ; Eph. i. 16 ; 1 Cor. i. i : 
Eom. i. 8; Phil. i. 3). 

' Serapis is called lord in countless papyri and inscriptions. 

' Cf. St. Paul's "perils in the sea," 2 Cor. xi. 26, mi/Sfoois o- BaKiaar,- The 
Boman soldier writes more vulgarly than St. Paul, eh 0&\aa<rav instead of 
iv BaKiimri, 

« Cf. St. Peter in peril of the sea. Matt. xiv. 30 f., "beginning to sink, he 
cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His 
hand . . ." (ip^d/ievos KOTOiroi'T/feo-flat Ixpa^ev \iyuv Kipte, (rw<r6v ne. 
eieias Si i 'lijirms inrelvat ■rijv x^pa, . . .). One sees the popular tone of the 
evangelist's narrative : he and the Roman soldier are undoubtedly following 
the style of popular narratives of rescue. 

' There are other instances of this plural form of the name of the naval 
harbour, generally called MUenum, near Naples. 

[For notes 8 to 21 see next page 


Apion, son of Epimachus, of the little Egyptian 
village of Philadelphia, has entered the Roman army 
as a soldier,^ and after the farewells to father, brothers 

' Preisigke thinks (p. 101 fE.) as a marine. 

Continuation of notes to pp. 168-9 : — 

' This f oim is one of the many vulgarisms found also in the New Testament, 
of. Neve BibeUtuMen, p. 19; Bihle Studies, p. 191. 

' The viaticum is aptly compared by Pieisigke with the marching allowances 
in the German army. It consists of three pieces of gold (aurei)=75 drachmae. 
Alfred von Bomaszewski writes to me (postcard, Heidelberg, 6 Angust, 1908) : 
"The viaticmn (of. Corpus I-atervptiomm, Zatinarum, VIII. No. 2557) is 
a stipendinm." 

" Again the " Biblical " word. 

" am-Tipla here means " welfare " in the external (not in the religions) 
sense, as in Acts xxvii. 34, Heb. xi. 7. 

'* X'^pav = xctpo, vrith vulgar r appended, like x"?"" 'n John xx. 25, Codices 
X* AB ; other examples in Slass, Grammatik iet JfeuteftamientUchen 
Orieehiteli,^ p. 27 [Eng. trans, p. 26]. — By lumd I think Apion means hia 
father's handwriting, which will recall his father's presence. A specially fine 
tonch in this letter of fine feeling. 

" rpoKdiriu no doubt = irpoKdtl/at, " to advance," as in Gal. i. 14. The soldier 
is thinking of promotion. 

" The pious reservation " if the gods vrill " is frequent in pagan texts, cf. 
Jfeue Bihelitudien, p. 80 ; Bible Studies, p. 252. 

" The writers of papyrus letters often commission greetings to various 
persons, and often convey them from others (1. 25), just as St. Paul does in 
most of his letters. 

'" Cf. the same epistolary formula in 1 Cor. xvi. 19. 

" The reading here used to be <r[oi ri 6e]6viv, "the linen," which was 
understood to refer to Apion's civilian clothes. Wilqken has re-examined 
the passage in the original, and made the charming discovery that Apion sent 
his father his [el]K6vi.v (= cMyiav), "little picture " (results communicated to 
me in letters, Florence, 20 April, 1907, Leipzig, 5 May, 1907). It is just like 
German recruits getting themselves photographed as soon as they are allowed 
out of barracks alone. 

>■ On entering the Eoman army Apion, not being a Boman, received a 
Roman name. Antonis is short for Antoniui. The passage has an important 
historical bearing on the subject of changing names, cf. Hamack, Militia. 
Christi, Die christUohe Religion und der Soldatenstand m den ersten drei 
Jahrhunderten, Tubingen, 1905, p. 36. 

'• The name of his company, given no doubt as part of the correct address 
to be used in answering. 

" Philadelphia in the Fayiim. 

» The cohort mentioned in these instructions for delivery was stationed 
in Egypt (Preisigke, p. 102). The letter therefore went first of all from the 
garrison of Misenum to the garrison of this cohort (Wilcken: Alexandria), 
and the Liblarios (= Ubrariut), i.e. accountant to the cohort, was then to. 
forward it, as occasion should serve, to the village in the Fayflm. 


and sisters, and friends, has taken ship (probably 
at Alexandria) for Misenum. Serenus, Turbo, and 
other recruits from the same village accompany him. 
The voyage is rough and dangerous. In dire peril of 
the sea the young soldier invokes his country's god,, 
and the lord Serapis rescues him immediately. Full 
of gratitude, Apion reaches his first destination, the 
naval port of Misenum. It is a new world to the 
youth from the distant Egyptian village ! Put into- 
the centuria with the high-sounding name " Atheno- 
nica," with three pieces of gold in his pocket as. 
viaticum, and proud of his new name Antonis. 
Maximus, he immediately has his portrait painted 
for the people at home by some artist who makes a. 
living about the barracks, and then writes off to his 
father a short account of aU that has happened. The 
letter shows him in the best of spirits ; a rosy future 
lies before Apion : he will soon get promotion, thanks- 
to his father's excellent training. When he thinks 
of it all, of his father, and his brother, and his sister 
with her little daughter, and Capito and his other- 
friends, his feelings are almost too much for him. 
If only he could press his father's hand once again !. 
But father will send him a note in reply, and his. 
father's handwriting will call up the old home.. 
The letter is just about to be closed when his. 
countrymen give him their greetings to send, and 
there is just room for them on the margin of the 
papyrus. Finally the letter must be addressed, and 
that is a little troublesome : in the army there are 
rules and regulations for everjrthing, but to make 
up for it the soldier's letter wiU be forwarded by 
military post, and by way of the Liblarios' room of 
the first Apamenian cohort it wiU reach the father in 


Have I read too much between the lines of this 
letter? I think not. With letters you must read 
what is between the lines. But nobody will deny 
that this soldier's letter of the second century, with 
its fresh naivetd, rises high above the average level. 

We possess further the original of a second, some- 
what later letter by the same writer, addressed to his 
lister, which was also found in the Fayum, and is 
now in the Berlin Museum, I believe I am able 
to restore a few lines additional to those already 


A second letter from the same soldier to his sister Sahina, 2nd 
cent. A.D., papyrus from the Fayum, now in the Berlin 
Museum, published by Fritz Krebs ^ (Figure 25). 

~'Av\TOivi\o<i Md^i/iof Sa^ivrj 

irpo fiep Travrav evxpiiai 
tre vyiaiveiv, koi 'yoa yap 

5 vyiaiv[o}]. Mviav <rov 

vos ' irapa tow [eVJ^aSe 

6eol<} * 

Antonius Maximusto Sabina 
his sister,^ many greetings. 

Before all things I pray that 
thou art in health, for I my- 
self also am in health. Making 

mention of thee ' before the 

' Aegyptiiohe Urkwnden aus den Koeniglieheit Museen zu Berlin (II.)i 
Ho. 632, published by Fritz Krebs ; partly translated by Erman and Krebs, 
p, 215, and by Preisigke, p. 103. For the facsimile (Figure 25) I aiu indebted 
to the kindness of W. Sohubart. 

' The gister was named in the first letter. Her daughter, not being named 
in the second letter, had probably died meanwhile. It is not likely that 
Sabina was a second sister of the writer, because in the first letter only one 
sister is mentioned. The father too seems not to have been alive at the time 
-of the second letter. 

' Assurance of intercession for the receiver at the beginning of the letter 
is a pious usage with ancient letter-writers. In exactly the same way St. Paul 
writes ju/etav aov iroioi/ievos, Philemon 4 ; cf. 1 Thess. i. 2, Epb. i. 16, Bom. i. 9f., 
'2 Tim. i. 3 ; and see BibeUtudien, p. 210 (not in Bible Studies). — The participial 
«lause can also be taken with iyi,ahi(ii (so Wilcken). 

* See note 1 on next page. 

Fig. 25. — Letter from Apion (now Antonius Maximus), an Egyptian 
soldier in the Roman Army, to his sister Sabina, 2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus 
from the Fayfim. . Now in the Berlin Museum, By permission of the 
Pirectors of the Boyal Museums, (f of the size of the original.) 

(I' 173 


gods here ^ I received a * little 
letter from Antoninus our 
fellow-citizen. And when I 
knew that thou farest well, I 
rejoiced greatly.' And I at. 
every occasion delay not ta 
write unto thee concerning the 
health of me and mine. Salute 
Maximus * much, and Copres * 
my lord. There saluteth thee 
my life's partner, Aufidia, 

and Maximus my * son, whose 

' Wheie Antonins Maximus was at the time is not known. Alfred von 
Domaszewski gnggests Alexandria to me (postcard, Heidelberg, 6 August, 
1908). The soldier now serves the gods of the place where he is garrisoned,, 
as formerly he had served the lord Serapis of his native country; and this 
is not without analogies, cf . the worship of local gods in the Boman army,, 
von Domaszewski, JMe Religion des rSmischen Heerei, Trier, 1895, p. 54 fE. 

' & — the indefinite article, a popular usage often found in the New 
Testament, for which, according to Blass, Orammatik des NeutegtamentUehen- 
OriecMsch^ p. 145[Eng.trans.p.l44],HebrewafEordedaprecedent. Wellhausen,. 
Emleitmig in die drei ertten Meangelien, p. 27, explains it as an Aramaism. 
As a matter of fact this usage of popular Greek, which has been still further 
developed in Modem Greek, is parallel to the Semitic, Teutonic, and Bomance- 

eKOfuadfjjjv [l].v * 67rt[<r]T0- 

iraph ^AvTmv^i\vov rov 

7ro\[e]iTOw fjumv. koX hn- 
10 0-6 epp(OftAin)v \iav ex^-pv^-^ 
Koi '70) Sta irSurav d>j>opfi7]v 
o[v]% 6kv& vol ypd'^ai irepl 
Trj['i] a-ionjpiws fwv koi, t&v 
ifi&v. "Aa-iraaai Md^i/iov* 
15 iroWd Kal Koirpijv^ rov 
fjJijav. a^atrd^erai <re rj 

gs \jiov A\y(l>ihia ««* [M]a- 

[o* wtos /i]ow, [o5] e<rTt[j'] 
ra 761/6- 

' Mw ix^fnjv is an epistolary formula like ix^pnir \lav in 2 John 4 and 
3 John 3. 

* Maximus is probably the sister's son, who would then be named after 
his uncle. 

' Copres is probably the brother-in-law. 

" So I have restored lines 18-21. I have altered nothing except jretK to wear- 
in line 19. BireiTT is the month 'BTrei^ ; for the spelling with final ir cf . the 
examples in Wilcken, Grieelmche Oitraka, I. p. 809. xaff "^Wrfiai, " according 
to the Hellenic (i.e. not Egyptian) calendar," is a technical formula ; cf . the 
2nd cent, horoscope, FayCrni Tovmg and tM/r Papyri, No. 139, xaff "EXX^jvos- 
^eaopiii e, and the editors' note ; also Wilcken, OrieeJmehe Oitraka, I. p. 792 ff. 
The nominative rpMK&s is grammatically unimpeachable, for it is a predicate, 
and not a statement of time (" on the thirtieth "). Even in the latter case. 


birthday is the 30th Epip 

[<ria 'BjTretTT rpi,aKb,<i Kaff 

:20 [Xiyva]?, Kal 'EXtti? koI 

^opTov- ^ 
\yaTa\. " Aa-n[a\(Tai rov 


according to Greek reckoning, 
and Elpis and Fortnnata. 
Salute my lord . . . 

There follow 6 mviilated lines, ohmously containing more 

M8 [eppStadai ae ev'xp\pxu. \ Fare thee well, I pray. 

On the verso the address : 

[Xa^Lvri] a[S6]\^^] 6.7r[h] 

To Sabina his sister, from 
Antonius Maximus her brother. 

I imagine the situation in this second letter to be 
-as follows : — 

Years have passed. Apion, who has long ago 
discarded this name and now uses only his soldier- 
name Antonius Maximus, has taken a wife, called 
Aufidia. She presents him with two daughters, 
Elpis and Fortunata (the parents delight in beautiful 
names with a meaning), and at last the longed-for 
son and heir. His birthday, according to the Greek 
calendar, is 30 Epiph (24 July), and the soldier's 
'ChUd receives his father's splendid soldier-name, 
Maximus. Changes too have taken place at home, 
an the far-away little village of Philadelphia, in 

however, the nominative is occasionally left, e.g. Berliner Griechisohe TJr- 
tunden, No. 55, II,o (161 a.d.), 64h (216-217 A.D.). For the prominence given 
to the birthday of. for instance Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 333, 
2nd or 3rd cent. A.D. {BibeUtuAien, p. 215j not in Bible Studies). — W. Schubart 
"Informed me by letter (Berlin, 6 June, 1907) that my conjectures fit in well 
with the traces of letters remaining and with the size of the lacunae in 
the papyrus; he approves also, in spite of doubts suggested by the hand- 
writing, the reading item-. — 

' Krebs wrote IKrtli and ^dprov. I regard both as proper names ; of course 
one could also conjecture Fortmiatus (of. 1 Cor. xvi. 17). As the son Maximus 
has been already named, with special stress laid on his birthday, one is 
inclined to assume here that the writer had two daughters. 


Egypt. The sister Sabina has lost her little daughter; 
Epimachus, father and lord, has also died; but Sabiaa 
and her husband Copres have got a little boy instead, 
who is named Maximus in honour of his soldier 
uncle : is not uncle's portrait, left them by grand- 
father, hanging on the wall? Sabina is the link 
between her brother and his old home. He writes 
as often as he can, and when he cannot write 
he remembers his sister daily before the gods of his 
garrison in brotherly intercession. But this is not 
his only connexion with home. An old friend in 
Philadelphia, Antoniaus, has just written, and was 
kind enough to assure him of Sabina's being well. 

That is the occasion of the letter to the sister. 
Written in a perfectly familiar strain, simply to 
impart family news and to convey all sorts of 
greetings, it nevertheless, like that other letter of 
richer content to the father, gives us a glimpse 
of the close net of human relationships, otherwise 
invisible, which the giant hands of the Roman army 
had woven with thousands of jSne, strong threads 
and spread from coast to coast and from land to land 
over the enormous extent of the Mediterranean 
world at the time of the infancy of Christianity. In 
judging of the Roman army of the second century 
it is not without importance to know that among 
the human materials of which that mighty organism 
was composed, there were such attractive person- 
alities as our friend Apion. Another soldier's letter 
(No. 12), given below, also permits favourable con- 
clusions to be drawn. ^ 

' other soldiers' letters, sometimes highly characteristic, are forthcoming 
among the papyri. Preisigke, p. 99 ff., translates the unblushing begging, 
letter of a soldier to his mother, 3rd cent. A.D., Berliner Griechische 
Urkanden, No. 814. 



Letter from a prodigal son, Antoms Longus, to his mother 
Nilm, Fayum, 2nd cent, a.d., papyrus, now in the Berlin 
Museum, published by Fr. Krebs^ and W. Schubart' 
(Figure 26). 

'AvT&vK ' Aovyoi} NeiXovn 

[t]^ firjrpl ■7r[X]la-Ta Xf^P^ty- ical Si- 
a 7rdvTw[v] €vj(^o/iai crai * iyeiaiveiv. To vpoaKvvi]- 
fid aov [7rot]w Kar aiKdarrjv ■^fiaipav iraph t& 
5 Kvpim [^6jo]a7retSet.' TetvutaKeiv aai deXco,^ 6- 
Tf ovx [^A-Trjtfoi/,' oTi ava^evK eh t^v /im?t/jo- 
TToXiv} xWp"" "tovto ' owS' €70 elafjda ^^ eh rrjv iro- 
Xiv. aiB[v]g^oirg[v^v ^^ Se eXdeiv ek KapaviSa"-^^ 
oTt (ravpai} iraipiirarm. Aiypa^d '' aoi, on yvfivov 

10 el/j^i. '7ra/>a«g[X]w '* aai, fiV^VRf B[i,]a\d/yt)Ti /mi}^ Aoi- 
irov ^* olha n [ttot'] ^' ai/iavTm TrapSa-^Vf"'''*- iranrai^^ 
Sevfiat ^' Ka6' ov 81 ^^ rpoirov. olSa, oti fjiidprriiea.^ 
"H-Kovtra irapa to[v IIoaTJovfjiov ^^ rbv evpovra ^* aai 
ev T& 'ApaatvoelTT) ^' Kal dieaipUais irdvTa aoi Bi- 

15 i]yT}Tai. ovK olSei, on deKa ^ Tr^pgi yevearat,^^ 

et 2« yvovvai,'''' Srm ^^ dvepoirto ^^' [%[»] h^elXto 6fio\6v ; 

[ ]o[ Jo-y avrri eKdi. 

[ ]X«i"iP [ • • • Jov riyovaa, on . . 

[ ] . Xviaai^ . .] irapaKciXS} (rat 

ZO [ ...]... a[ . J . alym (r)(eSv 

[ ] to irapaKoKm a-g,o 

[ ^avov 9eXo) aiya 

[ jcret OVK |. 

[ J . . . . aWo)? 7ro([ . ] 

Here the papyrus breaks off. On the back is the address : 
[......] nrjTpel dtr ^Avrmvia Aovyov velov. 

' Aegyptiiehe TPrhmden aus den Koenigliohen Mtiseen zn Berlm (III.), 
No. 846. 

2 Ibid. Heft 12, p. 6. Some conjectures by me are given below. The 
photograph used for the facsimile (Fig. 26) here given by the kind per 
mission of the directors of the Boyal Museums was obtained for me by 
W. Sohubart. 

[For notes 3 to 28 see pp. 178 and 179. 




Fig. 26. — Letter from a Prodigal Son, Antonis Longus, to his mother Nilus, 2nd cent. A.D. 
Papyrus from the Faytim. Now in the Berlin Museum. By permission of the Directors of 
the Eoyal Museums. 

ip. 176 



There can be no doubt that this letter ^ is one of 
the most interesting human documents that have 
come to light among the papyri. This priceless 
fragment, rent like the soul of its writer, comes to 
us as a remarkably good illustration of the parable 
of the Prodigal Son (Luke xv. 11 if.).^ Others may 
improve on the first attempt at interpretation. 

Antonis' Longus to Nilus his mother many greetings. 
And continually do I pray that thou art in health. I make 
supplication for thee daily to the lord Serapis.® I would 
thou shouldst understand* that I had no hope that thou 
wouldst go up to the metropolis.* And therefore I came not 
to the city. But I was ashamed to come to Caranis,^^ because 
I walk about in rags. I write [or " have written " ^'] to thee 
that I am naked. I beseech thee,^* mother, be reconciled to 
rae.-'^ Furthermore, I know what I have brought upon myself. 
I have been chastened^* every way. I know that I have 
sinned.^" I have heard from Postumus,^^ who met thee in the 
country about Arsinoe and out of season told thee all things-. 
Knowest thou not that I had rather be maimed than know 
that I still owe a man an obol ? . . . . come thyself ! . . . . 
I have heard that .... I beseech thee .... I almost .... 
I beseech thee .... I will .... not .... do otherwise 

Here the fopyrus breaks off. On the back is the address : 
[ ] the mother, from Antonius Longus her son. 

' Partly translated by Preisigke, p. 99, who also calls the writer a " prodigal 

' If this letter had happened to be preserved in some literary work there 
would of course be a bundle of monographs, several pounds in weight, proving 
the parable to be derived from the letter, and many a doctoral dissertation 
would have been made out of it. 

[For notes 3 to 21 see pp. 178 and 179 



Antonius Longus, of Caranis in the Fayum, has 
quarrelled with his (widowed?)^ mother Nilus and 
left the village. The cause of the dissension seems 
to have lain with the son — loose living, and running 
up debts. It fares Ul with him in the strange 
country ; he is in such wretched plight that his 
clothes fall from him in rags. In such a state, he 

' otherwise there would surely have been some mention of the father. 

Continuation of notes to pp. 176-7. 

' Anitonis, short for Antonius, of. letter 9 above. 

* 0-01= a-e. Numerous repetitions of this word and similar cases are not 
specially noted. 

^ This sentence, occurring in innumerable papyrus letters, is the stereotyped 
form of assurance of mutual intercession. 

' Epistolary formula, occurring also in St. Paul, Phil. i. 12 (with poiXo/iaC). 
Other like formulae are frequent in the Pauline Epistles. 

' ^Xiri^ov = ■fjhviiov, with the vulgar aspirate, as in the New Testament 
instances iipeKirliw and itji iXirlSi (Blass, 6frammatik des Neutestamentlichen 
GnechisoTif p. 17 [Eng. trans, p. 15]). W. Schnbart examined the original 
expressly and assured me by letter (Berlin, 14 June, 1907) that my conjectured 
restoration of the text is quite feasible. 

' The metropolis is perhapte Aisinoe. 

' = xApiv Toirov (as Scbubart also pointed out in a letter to me). In the 
papyri this prepositional x<ip»' often stands before its case ; cf . for instance a 
passage, somewhat similar to the present one, in the letter of Gemellus to 
Epagathus, 104 A.D., Fay&m Towns and their Papyri,'So. 1169a, ^iri [=^7rei] 
^ovXeiufioi [els v]6\iv direX^c X^P^ [tov"] fUKpov Kal x^P^*' ^Ki[vov] toO fjXTVfjipov. 
'» = iyii el(rri\ea. 

" I at first conjectured {y[e\icoii\Tli\ii-iiv, " I was hindered," as in Eom. xv. 22. 
From the photograph Wilcken and I came to the conjecture given above = 
■iSv<raToinTiv, "T was ashamed." This word, which gives excellent sense, is 
found more than once in translations of the Old Testament ; in the letter of 
'Gemellus to Epagathus, 99 A.D., Fayum Towns amd their Papyri, No. IIZ,^ ; 
and in another letter, Oxyrhynchus Papyri, No. I284, 6th or 7th cent. A.D. 
Further particulars in the Thesaurus Qraeeae ZAnguae. W. Schubart, writing 
to me from Berlin, 3 October, 1907, proposed after fresh examination of the 
■original KoT[c](rK07roi//iij>'. But that, I think, would not make sense. Sohubart's 
reading, however, is a warning to be cautious in accepting mine. 

" Caranis (a village in the Fayfim) was probably the writer's home and the 
residence of his mother. 

" Refers probably to the present letter. 

" This verb, which occurs several times here, is used exactly as in the New 
" Cf. Matt. V. 24, SiaWiyvBi rif &SeK<t4 cov, " be reconciled to thy brother." 
" Adverbial, without article, as in 2 Tim. iv. 8, 1 Thess. iv. 1. 


says to himseK with burning shame,^ it is impossible 
for him to return home. But he must go back — he 
reahses that, for he had soon come to his senses : 
all this misery he has brought upon himself by his 
own fault, and it is the well-deserved punishment. 
Full of yearning for home he remembers his mother 
in prayer daUy to the lord Serapis, and hopes for 

' The word, if rightly read, is extraordinarily expressive. An ancient 
lexicographer says, SvaioTreurBai ivrl roC iipopSaOai xal ^opetaffai Kal /ie$' iirovolas 
aicvBpiinr&ieiv, " the word SviruretirSai means ' to stand with downcast eyes,' ' to 
be fearful,' and figuratively ' to look sad and gloomy ' " (see the Thesatirus 
Shaeeae Lmguae). The position reminds one of Luke xviii. 13, says Heinrich 
Schlosser (postcard to the author, Wiesbaden, 2 July, 1908). 

Continuation of notes to pp. 176-7. 

" The restoration of the text is uncertain. 

" The word is used exactly in the " Biblical " sense of " chasten," which 
according to Cremer, Bibliscli-theologisahes Worterlmoh,' p. 792, is "entirely 
nnknovfn to profane Greek." 

" = Si). Virtually Ka0' iv St) rpd-iroi' = Ka$' SvTtva oiv Tptnrov, 2 Mace. xiv. 3, 
3 Mace. vii. 7. The reading Slrpoiros, " with two souls," can hardly be enter- 
tained. Wilcken makes a good suggestion : Si = Set 

" Of. the Prodigal Son, Luke xv. 18, 21, " Father, I have sinned." 

" It is best to assume some proper name here. I at first thought of 
l^i\Sinov, but I now prefer the reading adopted above, although the space is 
somewhat small for so many letters. The name Postumus occurs often in the 
Berlin papyri, but must remain doubtful here. 

® The construction is grammatically incorrect, but such cases are frequent 
in letters. Preisigke (p. 99) translates the sentence differently. 

'^ " Nome," " district," must be understood. 

" eiXui with following ij (papyrus et), "I had rather . . . than . . . ," is 
used exactly like this in 1 Cor. xiv. 19. 

^ The first editors read irapairyeveiTTiu, which I at first took for Trapcunalveiteeu. 
(_*nyalva = naivta, as iyiyalpu = iyialva, Karl Dieterich, Vhtermchungen zur 
Gesohiehte der griecUschen Spraahe, p. 91 f.). With the photograph to help 
me I read mipm. Schubart tells me (letter, 3 October, 1907) this reading is 

» =«. 

2' = yvunai. 

™ This reading was also approved by Schubart (letter, 3 October, 1907) after 
inspecting the original. dfTrws is used vulgarly like ttus = lis = «rt (Blass 
Grammatik des Mutegtamentlichen Qrieohiseh,^ p. 235 f. [Eng. trans, 
pp. 230-1] ; Hatzidakis, Umleittmg in die neugrieehisehe Grammatik, p. 19), 
s.g. Mark xii. 26, i,v4-fiiwe . . ., jrws ilirev airr^ 6 Bebs (quotation follows), and 
many other passages. I find this use of Sttws beginning in Luke xxiv. 20. 


an opportunity of re-establishing communication with 
her. Then he meets an acquaintance of his, Postu- 
mus (?). He hears how Postumus (?) had met his 
mother in the Arsinoite nome, as she was returning 
home from the metropolis, Arsinoe, (to Caranis,) 
and how the poor woman had hoped to find her 
son at the metropolis. Unfortunately Postumus (?) 
recounted to the disappointed mother the whole 
scandalous story of the runaway once more, reckon- 
ing up his debts for her edification to the last obol. 

That is the occasion of the letter : gratitude to 
the mother for having looked for him, as he had 
not ventured to hope, in the metropolis — and anger 
at Postumus (?) the scandal-monger. The letter is 
dashed off in a, clumsy hand and full of mistakes, for 
Antonius Longus has no practice in writing. The 
prodigal approaches his mother with a bold use of 
his pet name Antonis, and after a moving descrip- 
tion of his misery there comes a complete confession 
of his guilt and a passionate entreaty for reconcilia- 
tion. But in spite of everything, he would rather 
remain in his misery, rather become a cripple, than 
return home and be still one single obol in debt to 
the usurers. The mother will understand the hint 
and satisfy the creditors before the son's return. And 
then she is to come herself and lead her son back 
into an ordered way of life — — — — — — 

"I beseech thee, I beseech thee, I will " 

— no more than this is recoverable of the remainder 
of the letter, but these three phrases in the first 
person are sufficiently characteristic. Antonius has 
a foreboding that there is still resistance to be 

' A somewhat different explanation of the letter is attempted by Ad. Matthaei, 
in the Prenssische Jahrbiicher, January 1909, p. 133 f. 


Astute persons and models of correct behaviour 
will tell us that the repentance of this black sheep 
was not genuine ; that sheer poverty and nothing 
else wrung from him the confession of sin and the 
entreaty for reconciliation ; that the lines assuring his 
mother of his prayers to Serapis were mere phrasing. 
But was not the prodigal's confession in the Gospel 
parable also dictated by his necessity? Jesus does 
not picture to us an ethical virtuoso speculating 
philosophically and then reforming, but a poor 
wanderer brought back to the path by suffering. 
Another such wanderer was Antonius Longus the 
Egyptian, who wrote home in the depths of his 
misery : " I beseech thee, mother, be reconciled to 
me ! I know that I have sinned." 

We see very plainly how genuine and true to life 
it all is when we compare the tattered papyrus sheet 
with a specimen letter of contrition, ship-shape and 
ready for use, as drafted by an ancient model letter- 
writer ^ : — 

r) hna-roK'q. otSa or^aXet? 
KaKS)<s ae Si,a6efj,evo<!. Scb /le- 
Tayvov'i rrjv iirl t& a<f>d\fiaTi 
avyyv(OfiJ]v oItw. /leraSovpai, 
Se fioi /jlt} KaTOKvrjarit; Sia top 
Kvpiov. SiKaiov yap etrri avy- 
'yivcocTKeiv wTaiovcn tok ij)iXoi<;, 
ore fioKiara koL d^tovtn crvy- 

The letter. I know that I 
erred in that I treated thee ill. 
Wherefore, having repented, I 
beg pardon for the error. But 
for the Lord's sake ^ delay not 
to forgive me. For it is just 
to pardon friends who stumble, 
and especially when they desire 
to obtain pardon.' 

The person who calls himself " I " in this letter is 
a lay-figure, and not even a well-made one ; when 

' Proolus, De forma epistolari, No. 12 (^Epistolographi Graeoi, leo. Heroher, 
p. 9). Of. the note on letter Ko. 8 above, p. 165, n. 4. 

" This formula is undoubtedly Christian (1 Cor. iv. 10 ; 2 Cor. iv. 11 ; 
Phil. iii. 7, 8). 

' Probably a faint echo of Luke xvii. 4. 


Antonis Longus says " I do this or that " a man of 
flesh and blood is speaking, and it would make no 
difference to the inward truth of his touching con- 
fessions if his " I know that I have sinned " were as 
much a current formula as the " I know that I 
erred." The prodigal had gone through experiences 
enough to animate even formulae into confessions. 


Letter from Awreliits Archelaus, beneficiarius, to Julius Domitms, 
military tribune, Oxyrhynchus, 2nd cent, a.d., papyrus, 
now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, discovered and 
published by Grenfell and Hunt ^ (Figure 27). 

This letter is of great interest in various respects : 
as a good example of an ancient letter of recommen- 
dation,^ as an early Latin letter, as a specimen of 
vulgar Latin ^ of the date of the Muratorian Canon. 
Scholars of repute have even considered it to be 
a Christian letter — and if that were so its value, 
considering its age, would be unique. 

I have retained the remarkable punctuation by 
means of stops. The clear division of the words 
should also be noticed.* 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (I.) No. 32. The facsimile there given (Plate Vm.) 
is reproduced here (Figure 27) by permission of the Egypt Exploration Fund. 
The last part of the letter, which was discovered later, is given by Grenfell 
and Hunt in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Part H. p. 318 f. It comprises 
lines 22-34. 

2 Cf. p. 158 above. 

» Observe the marked use of parataxis, and cf. p. 128 ff. above. 

' The two little fragments to the right below (on a level with 11. 20, 21) 
read respectively ]«*.[ and ]jma[. 




^V''.^.-/.'/0 7//7,,^^^,^^ 

20 / ' ' ^ ^'.%^-^"^'^'/^ri?^ 

Fig. 27.— Letter from Aurelins Archelaus, tenpficiarius, to Julius Domitius, 
military tribune, lines 1-24, 2nd cent. A.D. Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now in 
the Bodleian Library, Oxford. By permission of the Egypt Exploration Fund. 


/[mJZm) Domitio^ tribuno 

miHitum) leg(ionis) 
ah' Aurel(io) Archelao he- 

sva salutem: 
iam tibi et pristine commen- 
5 daueram Theonem amicum 
meum et inod{o qu]pguepeto 
domine ^ ut eumi anf oculos 
habeas^ tanquam' me'* est e- 
nim' tales omo ' ut ametur 
10 a te' reliquit' enim «m[o]« [e^t 
rem suam et actum et me 
secutus est^ . et per omnia 

s^c^umim fecit' et idea peto 
a te' ut habeat intr[o\itum' 
15 at te '. et omnia tibi refere- 
re potest' de actu[m] nos- 
qmtquit m\e d]imt' [i]l- 

[hi]t etfact\wn } L* •] 

amaui A[o]jra««[e]»re [ ] 

20 r»[.....Jje<"de- [ ] 

fl[ ] . dmimi\e ] 

i[ ] . .id e«[i ] 


.] Aa6[. 


To Julius Domitius,^ mili- 
tary tribune of the legion, 
from Aurelius Archelaus his 
benefidarius, greeting. 

Already aforetime I have 
recommended unto thee Theon 
my friend, and now also I 
pray, lord,^ that thou mayest 
have ' him before thine eyes as 
myself.* For he is such a man 
that he may be loved by thee. 
For he left his own people, his 
goods and business, and fol- 
lowed me.* And through all 
things he hath kept me in 
safety. And therefore I pray 
of thee that he may have 
entering in unto thee.' And 
he is able to declare unto thee 
all things concerning our busi- 
ness.' Whatsoever he hath 
told me, so it was in very 
deed.' I have loved the man 

' The subordinate politely places the name of his superior officer first, 
of. p. 160 above. Alfred 7on DomaszewsM (postcard, Heidelberg, 6 August, 
1908) refers to the forms of an official report; aotui (1. 16) he takes to be 
" conduct of my office," the writer's conscience being not quite easy on that 
score. In line 26 my correspondent would conjecture gv,c]cessoris, supposing 
the soldier about to be relieved of his post. 

* Lord is a polite form of address, 

' For this phrase, which recurs in 1. 31 f., cf. irpb 6^6a\fuiv \aii^&v(u>, 
2 Mace. viii. 17, 3 Mace. iv. 4, and the Tebtuuis Papyri, No. 28,3 (cirea 114 B.C.), 
with CrHnert, WoehensoMft fiir hlaiiische Philologie, 20 (1903) col. 457 ; t/)4 
d^ddXfiCiv nBirai, Epistle of Aristeas, 284, and Berliner Griechische Urknnden, 
No. 362 Vjf. (215 A.D.) ; and actually irpb 6^0a\ftwv ^x"" ^'^ ^° inscription at 
Talmi, Dittenberger, Orientis Graed Imeriptiones Seleetae, No. 2108 (fii^oa 

[For notes 4 to 11 see next page. 


25 tor. t ..[... ]icg[ ] 

iUumv ut [. . .]i<p«e[ 

inter (?)-] 
cessoris u\t i\llimi co\mmen- 

dcurem (?)] 
estate felicissi\nii domine 

tis annis cum [tuis omni- 
bus (?)] 
SO ben[e agentes^ 

hanc epistulam cmt'' ocu- 
los ^' hdbeto domine puta[t]o 
me tecum loqui ^* 


.... lord . . " . . that is ... . 
have .... and .... (fr)iend 
.... him as ... , mediator 
that I would recommend (?) 
him. Be ye most happy, lord, 
many years, with all thine, in 
good health. Have this letter 
before thine eyes,^' lord, and 
think that I speak with thee.^* 

On the verso the address :^^ 

To Julius Domitius, military 
tribune of the legion, from 
Aurelius Archelaus, benefi- 



ab' Aurelio' Archelao' b{ene- 

"iA^ A.D.). Another inscription of the reign of Hadrian, from Pergamum, 
Athenische Mitteilungen, 24 (1899) p. 199, should be compared. I note these 
passages, because people might easily scent a Hebraism here. 

' Of. St. Paul, Philemon 17, rpoaXapoO airrbv iis ifi.i, " receive him as myself." 

= =.talis homo. With omo cf. odie, in the Muratorian Canon, 1. 11. 

' Cf . Matt. xix. 27 = Mark x. 28 = Luke xviii. 28, " Lo, we have left all, and 
have followed Thee." Cf. also Matt. iv. 20, 22. 

' Cf . St. Paul, 1 Thess. i. 9, moiau el<roSov (axoiJtev X(o5s i/ms, " what manner 
of entering in we had unto you." 

' =de actu (or actd) nostro. Cf. ad nobis, Muratorian Canon, 1. 47. For 
the whole sentence cf . St. Paul, Col. iv. 7, t4 /car' i/ik ir&vTa yvapltrei iiuv Tuxik6s, 
" all my affairs shall Tyohicus make known unto you." 

' The conjectured restoration of the text is uncertain. Grenfell and Hunt : 
" Whatever he tells you about me you may take as a fact." 

" Hugo Koch, writing to me from Braunsberg, 25 November, 1908, con- 
jectured a relative clause with the subjunctive here. He quoted Ambrosius, 
De Obitu Theoddsii, c. 34 (Migne, Pair. Lat. 16, col. 1459), " dilexi vmm, qui 
magis arguentem quam adulantem probaret." 

" Here begins the second and more recently discovered fragment. 
" Grenfell and Hunt conjecture to- instead of mnl-. 

" See p. 183, n. 3. 

" This pretty observation should be compared with the ancient comparison 
of a letter to a conversation, quoted below, p. 218, n. 1. 

'= The address is written on fragment I. 


The situation in this letter is quite clear, and 
needs no reconstruction. It is only necessary to 
say something about the theory, first advanced by 
N. Tamassia and G. Setti in collaboration,^ and 
approved by P. Viereck,^ that the letter was 
written by a Christian. In support of it we are 
referred to the various "Biblical" and especially 
" New Testament " echoes it contains, the chief 
being a striking parallel to the words of St. Peter, 
"Lo, we have left all, and have followed Thee." 
In conscious or unconscious recollection of these 
Gospel words, we are told, Archelaus writes of 
Theon that he had left his own people, his posses- 
sions, and business, and had followed him — so 
that Archelaus at least must be regarded as a 
Christian.' There is certainly something alluring 
about this theory, but nevertheless I am not able 
to accept it. If Archelaus were a Christian it is 
extremely unlikely, I think, that he would have 
profaned St. Peter's words by applying them to the 
relations of an ordinary human friendship. The 
double concept of leaving and following is employed 
by St. Peter in the deepest sense of evangelical self- 
denial and refers to the disciples and the Master. 
But the expression " leave and follow " is quite likely 
to have been one of the stock phrases used in ancient 
letters of recommendation ; in the Gospel it acquires 
ethical status. The other " BibUcal " and particularly 
" Pauline " echoes are explainable in the same way. 
Archelaus was not acquainted with the Pauline 

> Due Papiii d'Oxirinco. An offprint from the Atti del E. Istit. Veneto di 
Scienze, etc., t. 59, Venezia, 1900. I know this paper only from Viereck's 
review (see next note). 

^ Berliner Philologisohe Woohenschrift, 21 (1901) col. 907 f. 

' Viereok, col. 907. 


Epistles,' but Paul and Archelaus Were acquainted 
with the complimentary phraseology employed in 
ancient letter-writing. 

To the historian of manners this letter of Aurelius 
Archelaus is a speaking testimony to the noble, 
unreserved humanity that was possible in the Roman 
army of the second century, even in the relations 
between a subordinate and his superior. 


Letter from Harpocras, am Egyptian, to Phthomonthes, 29 Decem- 
ber, 192 A.D., ostracon from Thebes, now in the author's 
collection, deciphered by U. Wilcken (Figure 28). 

A dehvery-order in letter-form, perfectly simple 
and unassuming, but interesting in style and language. 

'ApirOKpOM 00OfMo{v)O7) 


nXijvi IIaov(oa-co{^) 
aTTO ^ ^fiav jeoypyoli; Xifivri<! 

eh 'TrKrjpmaiv / Xe ^{LvovTai) 

L Xy// Tv/3(i) 7. 
/ Kal r]Sri Trore ' 809 rrj ip/tj * 

Ta? Tov fiy E I 

Harpocras to Phthomonthes, 
greeting. Give toPsenmonthes, 
the son of Pao, and to Plenis, 
the son of Pauosis, of Phmau, 
husbandmen of the lake, 5 
(artabae) of wheat, to make 
up the 35 (artabae) of wheat. 
They are 35 (artabae) of wheat. 
In the year 33, Tybi 3. And 
now at length give to my maid 
the 3| artabae of wheat. 

' What a significance for the history of the canon would attach to quotations 
from St. Panl fonnd in an unknown person's letter in the second century I 
How pleased we should be to be able to believe the letter Christian 1 

* So read by Hermann Diels (letter to the author, Berlin W., 22 July, 1908). 

' The same i,Trb that has been so often misunderstood in Heb. xiii. 24 ; cf . 
my little note in Hermes, 33 (1898) p. 844. As on the ostracon people at 
Phmau are meant, so no doubt in the Epistle to the Hebrews oliitii ttjs 'IroXias 
(" they of Italy," A.V., E.V.) means people in Italy. 

' Contraction for irvpov, " wheat." = ijirj Tvri is used as in Bom. i. 10. 

' iubs unemphatic as, for example, in Bom. x. 1 . 

' Meaning, as in the New Testament, a " female slave." 

Fig. 28. — Letter from Harpocras, an Egyptian, to Phthomonthes, 29 December, 192 A.D. Ostraoon 
from Thebes. Now ia the Author's collection. 

[p. 186 



Letter from Theon, an Egyptian hoy, to his father Theqn, 2nd 
or 3rd cent, a.d., papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, now in the 
Bodleian Library, Oxford, discovered and published by 
Grenfell and Hunt ^ (Figure 29). 

This letter, written in a schoolboy's uncial hand, is 
of the highest importance for a variety of reasons : 
it is at once a picture of ancient family life, a portrait 
of a naughty boy drawn by himself, and a specimen 
of the most uncultivated form of popular speech. 
Blass's^ remark, that the boy "violates" grammar, 
is about as true as if I were to call a sloe-hedge a 
violation of the espalier. At the outset Theon had 
no grammar to suffer humiliation and violence at 
a later stage of his career. He had merely the 
language of the streets and the playground, and 
that language the rogue speaks also in his letter.. 
The spelling too is " very bad," says Blass — 
as if the boy had been writing an examination 
exercise ; but from this " bad " (really on the whole 
phonetic) spelling the Greek scholar can learn more 
than fi;om ten correct official documents. The style 
I recommend to the consideration of all who are 
speciahsts in detecting the styUstic features character- 
istic of the Semitic race. 

Qewv Qecovi t& iraTpl j(aipeiv. 
KaX&i iiroif)aefS? ovk airevrj'xe'; * /ne /Mer i- 
aov * eh iroXiv. ^^ ov 6i\K ' wireveKiceiv ^ fie- 
T earn * «s 'AXe^avSpiav, ov fj.^ ypdyfrm o-e e- 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (I.) No. 119, of. II. p. 320. See also U. von 
Wilamowitz-MoellendorfE, Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1898, p. 686;; 
F. Blass, Hermes, 34 (1899) p. 312 fE. ; Preisigke, p. llOf . Grenfell and Hunt, 
it seems, did not adopt all Blass's suggestions. I follow their readings. For 
the facsimile (Figure 29) I am indebted to the kindness of Dr. Arthur 8. Hunt. 

2 Page 312. 

' = iirolriaai. ' = aov, formed like iiuni, common. ' = dAns. 


5 irKTToKrjv, ovre Xa\& (re, ovre vir/evoa ^ <re 
elra. av ^ Se eX^ij? eh 'A\e^avSp[av, ov 
fit) \a/3w xetpa" * "Tapd [<r]ov, ovre iraXi * %atp(» 
a-e Xvirov.^ a/j, fir} ^ de\i)<; aireveKai "> fi[e], 
ravra y^Qvere.^ kuI t) /J-tjrrip fiov elire 'Ap- 
10 •xe'Kdoa, on dvaaTarol fie • dppov ' avrov. 
KaXm Se iiroirja-e^.^'' B&pd fioi eVe/i-^ef?] ^^ 
fieydXa, dpdicia. ireirKdvrjKav r)fim ^^ e«ep], 
TTJ rifiepa t/3 OTi " cTrXei/o-e?." Xvirov ^ Trefiifrov el^?] 
fie, irapaKoXS) a-e. afi fuq * TrefJAJrrji;, ov fjjq <j}d- 
15 yw, ov fiT) Treiv(o}^ ravra. 

ipuxrOe ^^ ae eii\ofiai). 
Tv^i Vfj. 

On the verso the address: 
aTTofios Qewpi [d]iro ©ewraro? vim. 

Theon to Theori his father, greeting. Thou hast done well*^^ 
Thou hast not carried me with thee to the town. If thou wilt 
not carry me with thee to Alexandria, I will not write thee " 
a letter, nor speak thee,*' nor wish thee '* health. But if thou 
goest *' to Alexandria, I will not take hand from thee, nor greet 
thee again henceforth.^" If thou wilt not carry me, these things 
<!ome to pass. My mother also said to Archelaus, " he driveth 
me mad ^^ : away with him." ^^ But thou hast done well.*' Thou 

' = 6yiy4v<a ( = iytyalvw from {ryialpoj, Karl Dieterich, Vntersuohungen, p. 91 f . 
and p. 179, n. 25 above). 

' = x^'P"- 

' = irdfiiv as in the oldest Christian papyrus letter extant (No. 16 below, 

° = \onr6v. 

' = iiw li^ as in the letter of the Papas Caor (No. 19 below). 

' = direviyKcu. " = eirolriiras. " = fce 1 

' = ylverai.. " = itreppas. " = (irKEVirai. 

' = &POII. "^ = ^/iSs. " = vlvui. 

'« = ippStuBiiX. " Ironical. 

" The word in the original has the form of the accusative. This is not 
an outrage on grammar, but a symptom that the dative was beginning to 
disappear in the popular language. 

" That is to say : alone, without taking the son. 

^ \onr6v, as used frequently in St. Paul's letters. 

2' The " New Testament " dcooroTiSw, of. p. 80 above. 
^ ipov is used exactly like this in John xix. 15. 

';;?,'. '..^;r'i-'-'' 

\ :..' . '-' ■,-if~.vA ^"W:: ■'/ „„ .., 

~ --- ■ -■ ■"* , - ■.. r .1-. .^j-y, .J.'.,, , , W ■■■■■ ■■ -'n 




Fie. 29. — Letter from Theon, an Egyptian boy, to his father Theon, 2nd or 3rd cent. a.d. 
Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Facsimile kindly obtained 
by Dr. Arthur S. Hunt. 

[p. 188 


hast sent me great ^ gifts— locust-beans,^ They deceived ^ us* 
there on the 12th day, when thou didst sail. Finally," send 
for me, I beseech thee. If thou sendest not, I will not eat 
nor drink.^ Even so.' Fare thee well, I pray, Tybi 18. 

On the verso the address : 
Deliver to Theon from Theonas ' his son. 

A nice handful, this boy! He has wrought his 
mother to such a pitch that she is almost beside 
herself and has but one wish : " Away with him 1 " 
And the father is no better treated. Little Theon 
is determined at all costs to share in the journey to 
Alexandria planned by Theon the elder. There 
have already been several scenes about it, and the 
father, who has no need of the urchin on his long 
journey, can think of no other way out of the diffi- 
culty but to start on the voyage to the capital, 
Alexandria, under the pretext of a little trip "tO' 
the town" (probably Oxyrhynchus),' This was on 
7 January. The weak father's conscience pricks him 
for his treachery, and so he sends a little present to- 
console the boy he has outwitted — some locust-beans. 

' Blass and Preisigke take " great " with the word which I have translated 
" locust-beans." Our interpretation makes the irony clearer. 

^ Perhaps something like the husks which the Prodigal Son (Luke xv. 16)> 
would fain have eaten. 

^ TtKavAa, as frequently in the New Testament. 

* Tjs = probably Theon and (his brother?) Archelaus. ' See p. 188, n. 20.. 

* This recalls the curse under which the Jewish zealots bound themselves, 
" that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul " (Acts xxiii. 
12, 21), Wetstein, Novwm Testamentum Graecum, II. p. 615, quotes similar 
formulae from Eabbinic sources. 

' After TaDra we must probably understand ytveTai. (of. 1. 9). Cf. the abrupt 
rauTO in inscriptions : Bduard Loch, Festschrift . . , Ludwig Friedlaender 
dmgebraekt von seinen Schiilern, Leipzig, 1895, p. 289 fE. ; R. Heberdey and 
B. Kalinka, Denkschriften der Kais. Akad. d. Wissensch. zu Wien, Phil.-hist. 
Classe, 45 (1897) 1 Abh. pp. 5 f., 53. 

* Theonas is the pet-form of the name Theon. 

' I surmise that Theon's home was some little place on the Nile (cf . ^Xeuo-es, 
1. 13), south of O.xyrhynchns, which would then be " the town " referred to. 


for him to eat, which the father perhaps thought would 
be a treat for him so early in the year. But he was 
mistaken there. As day after day goes by and the 
father does not return from " the town," the victim 
sees through the plot. He knows now why he was 
not allowed to go with his father this time to " the 
town " ; he sees now why he received the fine present 
— fine present indeed, why the poor people eat those 
locust-beans ^ ! Burning with rage, he sits down to 
-write on 13 January. Having found out that his father 
was to stop somewhere en route, he composes this 
blackmailing letter we have before us. Impudent, 
ironical, with childish wilfulness he pours out his 
threats. He will stop doing everything that a weU 
brought-up child should do to its parents — wishing 
them good-day, shaking hands, wishing them health, 
writing nice letters. Worst threat of all, he will 
starve to death of his own fi:ee will. That wiU bring 
daddy round, the device has never failed yet. And 
still with aU his defiant naughtiness Theon can con- 
trive a tolerable joke. His mother had cried in 
desperation to (his brother ?) Archelaus, " He drives 
me mad, away with him," and Theon is quick-witted 
enough to turn this into an argument with his father 
for travelling to Alexandria after all! The same 
derisive artfulness is apparent in the address. On 
the outside of a letter bristling with impudence he 
has mischievously written as the name of the sender 
Theonas, the father's pet name for his pampered child. 
Did Theon the elder, to whom such a letter could 
be written, do what the naughty boy wanted at last ? 
The outlines which the son has unconsciously drawn 
of his father's portrait certainly do not encourage us 
to answer the question in the negative. 

■ Cf. Blass, p. 314. 

Fig. 30. — Letter from Pacysis, an Egyptian, to his son, about the 3rd cent. a.d. Ostracon from 
Thebes. Now ia the Author's collection. 



Letter from Pacysis, an Egyptian, to his son, about the 
3rd cent. a.d., os1;racon from Thebes, now in the author's 
collection, deciphered by U. Wilcken^ (Figure 30). 

IlaKva-K IIaTa-e0dio{<s) tw 

VIM fwv ■xfaipetv). 
Mr] avTCKo'^ri<rr)<s. fiera 

arpariosTov ^ 
[m ?\KT)craTe <(i)rKe't. fi\r)S\ik 

[^t) avTo\v, 60)? e\0(o irpo<} 

f ** 3 

5 [ ] eppcocro. 

Pacysis, the son of Pat- 
sebthis, to my son, greeting. 
Contradict not. Ye have dwelt 
there with a soldier. But re- 
ceive him not till I come to 


In its wretchedly sorry state this greatly faded 
ostracon is a typical example of a poor man's 
letter in ancient times. Theon, the father whose 
a,cquaintance we made in the last letter, was 
obviously better off, but would he, we wonder, ever 
have been able, like Pacysis, in deaUng with his 
son to use such a wholesomely rough expression as 
^'Contradict not"? 

' Wilcken examined the ostiacon on two occasions, once in the autumn of 
1904, and again at the beginning of 1907. Not all that was visible in 1901 can 
be read now. 

^ The punctuation is doubtful. I at first thought of reading /iTi &i>n\(>y^trris 
.lierh mpaTulyrov, " dispute not with a soldier," when jitcTa would be used as it is 
frequently in the New Testament and elsewhere after iroKe/iia. 

' Ti/ias must certainly mean i/nas ; this confusion, of which there are 
countless instances in M8S. of the New Testament, arose in consequence of 
both words being prononnced alike, imas. 



Letter from an Egyptian Christian at Rome to his fellow- 
Christians in the Arsinoite nome, between 264 (265) and 
282 (281) A.D., papyras from Egypt (probably the 
Fayum), formerly in the collection of Lord Amherst 
of Hackney at Didlington Hall, Norfolk, published by 
Grenfell and Hunti (Figure 31). 

This papyrus is at present the oldest known 
autograph letter in existence from the hand of a 
Christian, and in spite of being badly mutilated it 
is of great value. 

From external characteristics the fragment was 
dated between 250 and 285 a.d. by Grenfell and 
Hunt, who deciphered and first published it, and 
their chronology has been brilliantly confirmed by 
an observation of Harnack's.^ He found that the 
"pope Maximus" mentioned in the letter was 
Bishop Maximus of Alexandria, who was in office 
from 264 (265) to 282 (281) a.d. 

Little has yet been done towards the restoration 
of the text. Two other texts contained on the same 
precious fragment have from the first somewhat 
diverted attention from the letter itself. A few lines 
from the beginning of the Epistle to the Hebrews 
have been written above the second column of the 
letter in an almost contemporary hand,' while on 
the back Dr. J. Rendel Harris was the first to 
recognise a fragment of Genesis i. 1-5 in AquUa's 

' The Amherst Papyri, Part I. No. 3a, with a facsimile in Part 11. Plate 25, 
which I here reproduce by the kind permission of the late Lord Amherst of 
Hackney. The reproduction (Fig. 31) is about half the size of the original. 

^ Sitzungsberiohte der Koniglich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 
zu Berlin, 1900, p. 987 S. Harnaok thinks there is much to be said for the 
theory that the papyrus contains two letters. Then, I think, we should have to 
assume that the fragment was a leaf of the writer's letter copy-book (of. below, 
p. 227, the remarks on Bom. xvi.). But the most probable assumption is that 
we have only one letter here. 

' See the facsimile. 


translation preceded by the Septuagint parallel in a 
handwriting of the age of Constantine. 

So far as I know C. Wessely^ is the only one 
who has attempted to restore the missing parts of 
the letter. My own attempt, here given/ agrees in 
several places independently with his. I feel obUged 
to point out that parts of the attempted restoration 
of the text are extremely hypothetical. But com- 
bined eflfbrt is necessary for the solution of such 
tasks, and I should be the first to discard these 
conjectures in favour of better ones. 

Column I 

contains the remains of 10 lines, not deciphered by Grenfell 
and Hunt. A re-examination of the original is greatly to be 
desired, but merely from the facsimile I should not venture 
to say anything. 

Column II 

«[ Ji'oi'?' ?oy ija avv[a>tnj<!] ' 

..[.... i^o\St,d<rai rrjv Kpi6rjv\^ • • • ] 
e/c Toy [avTov] Xoyov [xai] /irj to ayT[o] 
^/30J'T[^o■ft)o■t]I' otoy Kot e'iprjTO)* , [ . . ]o 
5 ey6i^K[(ov cvTro^areWofiivav irpo's 
avTov d[7ro] tt)^ 'AXe^avSpeiai, xal 
•jrpo(l)d<7e[i<s] koX dva^6\ci<! Kal dvor 
S6<ri<! ^ •jroi7)[(ra]fj,evo<! ov^ oiofiai avTlpjv 
TavTa [Si^a] aiTia<! ovto<; * ire<f>povi- 
W Kevai . 6t 06 Kal av vyv avrr) r] irepia- 
crpT^9 f) <7v/i^e^TjKViav * fiij iroi'^aai, 
\g^ov, h TO KdXS)<s exeiy T[e\]efi' eS 
' Patrologia Orientalis, Tome IV. Fascicule 2, p. 135 ff. 
2 Cf. also a short notice in the Supplement to the Allgemeine Zeitung 
(Munich), 1900, No. 250. 

' This conjecture is not certain, but U. Wilcken agrees with me in thinking 
it probable. The Latin annona often appears as a borrowed word in Greek 
papyri. < = eipjiro. 

' = ivaSdaets. ' = TetppovriKivai. 

' = otru!. ' = trv/i^epTiKvia. 



avexofiai. et 8e e[ . . . . J apToif ^ tto,- 


\i ^ TreTrpdq-iy ' o [[ ■ ]] eto- [ . Ju Sia fi[i]Kp6v ye- 
15 veadai Trpcx; ttjv [ • . ]e[ . . . ]v NTXop 
Kol Tov irarepa ' AiroKKSiViv eh 

A . , T q . eiriaTeiKdv re 

7rapa'xp[f}/ji,]a ro apyvpiov e^oSiaa-- 
drjvai vfiiv. o Kal tcaTaydr/eirai, * 
'20 49 Tr)v 'AXe^dvBpiav cavrja-d/jue- 

yov * aoi/a? * trap vfuv ev t& 'Apa-ivo- 
[e]iTT). TOVTO yap avv66[e]firiv Hpei- 
fieiTeivo), axTTe to dpyvpiov avT\Si\ t? 
T\r]v\ ^A\\e\^dvhpiav e^mSiaa-dfjvai .' 
25 [(^Tou?).J// Havvi rj d-TTO 'Pm/ivi .^ 

Column III 

Kd\a)<; oiv •7roi,'^a-avT[e<;, dSe\<f)oi,] 
o>V7ja-d/jLevo[i] ' rd 606v[i,a. eireird n-J 

1/69 e'f ^/i[&]y ^^ rbv a[ Xa/Serwo"-] '^ 

av avv avToi'i i^op/i[ija-avT6^ 7r/>09] 
5 Md^ifiov TOV TrdTra[v ^^ Kal ] i* 

' = A/rrovs t ' = viXtv, as in Theon's letter above, No. 14. 

* = jreTpA^Kayffivl * = KaraydyeTe, ^ =-<ivririiievoi,1 

" Grenfell and Hunt cite from Bpicharmus ^dip as the name of a fisK They 
observe — very rightly — that this is not likely to be the word here. We may 
assume with Wessely that d86vas was the word intended (of. colunm III). 
Hermann Diels writes to me (Berlin W., 22 July, 1908) : " 6e6vas is suggested 
by the sense, but there is not room enough for it. Is it possible that the word 
there was ^6i'as (vestimenta), the same which has hitherto defied explanation 
in Bacchylides 17 (16), 112 J" ' = ^oSuurerjvai. 

' This and the corresponding line in column III are written in another 
hand than the body of the letter. Of. above, pp.~ 153, 158 f. 

' After KoKSs wmSv we have here a^ in Theon's letter (No. 14 above) not the 
infinitive, but a paratactic participle ; similar constructions in the Oxyrhyn- 
chus Papyri, No. llSut and 116sf., " (both letters of the 2nd cent. A.D.). The 
use is, however, much older, as shown by the letter (Hibeh Papyri, No. 82i7t 
■c. 238 B.C.) quoted above, p. 83, note 6. 

" This conjecture is not free from doubt, as the writer generally divides 
words difEerently. 

" For the title Trdiros, "pope," cf. Harnack's observations on the letter, 
p. 989 ffi., and see Oaor's letter. No. 19 below. 

" Wessely here conjectures the name Primitmus. But this, in the ortho- 
graphy of the vpriter, would be too long. 





^^^dt^^ :^' 

r^ fit ti i^hi ' ' 3'^^P-^ !, 


-^«-«i(f«S»fc^Sf^ " 


By permission of Lord Amherst of Hackn^f the '^r oTner! ^"^ '^*""" ''' ^'''^ ^'"^ ^«^ (2«1) --• 

rii 194 


Tov avivyi^axr^Tfv. Kol [iv rfj 'A\e^avSpia\ 
'7ra)\^(Tavr{e<s\ ra 6d6[via ixelva e^o-] 
StatnjTe to apyvpiov [U/jet/netret-] 
va> rj Ma^i/Ko tS) 7rdir[a am-oxv" oto-J 
10 Xaii^dvov7[e]'i irap^ avifoO. avTOf 8e Tr}v\ 
eiriOrjic^rjv, ttjv rififiv tov w^' v/jmv] 
7ra>Xg[vfie\yov ap[Tov Kat t&v 60ovi-] 
cav TO apyvpiov, TrapaKg}\Tade(rd(o Trapa-\ 
Sou? avTO Oeova ^, iva aiiv [@e& ' Trapa-] 
15 yev6iievo<s l<s ttjv 'AXe^dvSpeiav] 

evpo * avTo ts Tci avdXdtfw^Ta. fiov. /a^] 
oZv d/jieX'^<rriT6, aSeX^o[t, Sia Taxi-] 
wv TOVTO iroirjtTai, "va /u.ij[ Tlpeifiei-] 
Teivoi Sta ttjv ifiijv •7rpo\6e<Tfitav ev] 
20 Tt] ^AXe^avSpela huiTpii^ [irKelv /teXXoM/] 
eVt TTjv 'Patfi/rfV, aXV m? 17/^% [m^ihifve Tra-\ 
pwrev^iv ° irdira Kcti rot? /ear' a{vTov a7«»-] 
rdroK * 7rpg[ea-T&a-i '], Tefff[a> avTW ;)^a/OM/] 
/cat irdvTa a\yfju^(i)^a Td^o * i[/iti' «af 'j4-] 
25 ya^o)Soi;[\a>. ipp^&aOcu {/[fiat evxofiai.] 

' Grenfell and Hunt read vapaKO, but to judge from the facsimile iro^aico 
would also be possible. 

^ = 6eiiiv(t. 

' For this conjecture cf. 1. 16 of the letter of Psenosiris, No. 17 below, trav 
IKBii irin> $eiff. The formula triiv Oeif, " with God," occurs frequently elsewhere. 
The writer of this letter fulfils almost literally the injunction in the Epistle of 
St. James iv. 13 S. not to say, " To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a 
city . . . and trade, and get gain," without adding, " If the Lord will and we 

* = eSpbi, cf . 1. 24 rdfo. The writer often confuses o and w. 

' rapdrcv^is is a new word, " intercourse, personal relations," perhaps also 
'' intercession" (cf. Ivreviu, Siielstiidien, pp. 1171, 143 f.; Bible Studies, 
pp. 121, 146). 

° For &yuiiTaTos cf. Jade 20. The superlative is common in both secular 
and ecclesiastical use. 

' For irpoeoTiis, " chief man," " ruler," in early ecclesiastical use cf . Joh. Caspar 
Suicerus, Thestmrus Boelegiastieus' II., Trajfecti ad Bhenum, 1746, col. 840 ; for 
the later Egyptian use see quotations in W. E. Crum, Coptic Oitraca, p. 113 of 
the lithographed part. 

' = T&^u, cf. 1. 16 eOpo. <rifi4>avos is common in the papyri in such contexts. 
The phrase aiiutuava SiarArTu is quoted in the Thesawrua Ghasocx Lmguae from 
Plato, Legg. 5. 746 E. 


Column II 

... of the com . . . deliver the barley ^ . . . from the 
same account, and that they should not be careful of that 
same which had also been said . . , when the stores [of money} 
were sent to him ^ from Alexandria. And though I made 
excuses and delays and puttings off, I think not that he ' thus 
desired these things* without cause. And even if now this 
superfluity ' which hath happened should not make a reckoning 
[possible], for the sake of [my own] good feelings * I will gladly 
endure ' to pay. But if . . . they have again sold loaves, 
... in a little while happen to . . . Nilus * and [my ?] father 
ApoUonis 'in A . . . And they have written that the money 
shall be delivered unto you immediately. Which also bring 
ye down to Alexandria, having bought linen among you in 
the Arsino'ite [nome]. For I have covenanted this with Primi- 
tinus, that the money shall be delivered unto him at Alexandria, 
[Year]//, Pauni 8,^" from Rome. 

Column III 
Ye shaU do well," therefore, brethren, having bought the 
linen cloth. Then let some of you take the . . . and set forth 

' Hence we may conclude that dealings in corn are in the background of 
this letter. 

' I.e. Primitinus, who was then also in Bome. 
' Primitinus. 

* Payment of the money in Alexandria- instead of Rome. 

' The letter was dated or signed in the beginning of June ; this suggests- 
that the harvest was unusually good, and business correspondingly heavy. 

' Cf. the last lines of column III. The writer wants to have his conscience 
clear towards Primitinus. 

' The word is no doubt used playfully. Wilcken proposes: "yet I will 
gladly make the sacrifice for the sake of decency." 

• If the reading " Nilos " is not certain, I should expect a female name, say 
" Nilus " (cf. letter 11, above). The preceding word would then be [iS}e[\<l)ii']v, 

" sister." 

s Apollonis is short for Apollonius. Harnaok assumed that " Father " was 
the title of the provincial bishop, and took Apollonius to be the bishop of the 
particular church in the Arsinoite nome (p. 991 ; cf . also his GeseUcUe der 
altchngtliehm Literatwr, II. 2, p. 180). This does not seem to me very 
probable. I rather think that the writer is speaking of his real father (and 
possibly of his sister just before). 

" = 2 June. 

» In the Greek text the verb is in the participle, through the carelessness of 

the writer in haste. 


with it ^ unto Maximus the Papas and ... the Lector. And 
having sold that linen cloth in Alexandria, deliver the money 
unto Primitinus or ^ Maximus the Papas, receiving a quittance 
from him. But the gain, the price of the bread sold by you 
and the money for the linen cloth, let him commit and deliver 
it up unto Theonas,' in order that I, being come with God 
to Alexandria,* may find it [ready] against my charges. 
Neglect not, therefore, brethren, to do this speedily, lest 
Primitinus, on account of the time appointed of me,' should 
tarry in Alexandria, being about to sail for Rome,* but that, 
as he hath profited us by dealings with the Papas and the most 
holy rulers who are before him, I may pay him thanks and 
determine all things in agreement for you and Agathobulus.^ 
Fare ye well, I pray ...... .^ 

Let us now attempt to make out the situation 
in this venerable document. A hint will be suflBcient 
reminder that, so far as the restored portion of the 
text is concerned, the attempt must remain 

We might place as a motto at the head of this, 
the earliest Christian letter of which the original 
has come down to us, the words which TertulUan ' 

' Or : " Then let some of you take the . . . with you (airots) and set forth 
unto ..." ' If Primitinus has not yet arrived at Alexandria. 

• Theonas is therefore probably the financial agent of the Papas. Hamack 
suggests very plausibly that he might be the Theonas who succeeded Maximus 
as Papas of Alexandria, 282 (281)-300 A.D. 

* The writer therefore intends presently to go from Borne to Alexandria. 
' The date arranged with Primitinus for the payment of the money. 

' Primitinus is therefore at present in Alexandria, but intends to return to 
Bome, where, according to column II, he had already been before. 

' If our conjectural restoration of the text is correct in principle, Agathobulus 
would be eminently interested in the settlement of the money matters dis- 
cussed In the letter. Perhaps he as well as the writer was the confidential 
agent of the Arsinol'te Christians at Bome. 

' The letters oiroXa defy all attempts at certain restoration. Can it be that 
the Papas is once more named here ? The conclusion of the letter containing 
the good wishes seems to have been Inserted at the right, which at a later date 
was quite usual, c£. my note in VeroffentUehimgen am der Seidelberger 
Pa/pyrut-Sa/mmlwng I. p. 101, and the letters of Psenosiris, Justinus, and Caor 
which follow below. 

' Apol. 42, " Navigamus . . et rusticamur et mercatus proinde misoemus." 


wrote two generations earlier : " We do business 
in ships ... we follow husbandry, and bear our 
part in buying and selUng." The Christians of the 
generation before the great tempest of Diocletian 
persecution, whom we can here watch going about 
their work from our hidden post of observation, 
took their stand in the world, not alone praying 
for their daily bread, but also trading in it ; " they 
bought, they sold." 

Christians,^ living somewhere in the fertile Arsinoite 
nome ^ of Egypt, have far away at Rome ^ a con- 
fidential agent whose name we do not know, but 
whose letter and Greek we have before us in the 
original: rude clumsy characters in the main text 
of the letter, a somewhat more flowing hand in the 
concluding lines (perhaps in the agent's autograph), 
the spelling uncultivated as of the people, the 
syntax that of the unlearned. This agent is 
supported perhaps by another, Agathobulus.* They 
are entrusted with the dispatch of certain business 
connected with com.^ 

An almost contemporary letter written from Rome 
by one Irenaeus to his brother Apolinarius, who 
also resided in the Arsinoite nome,® gives us a 
vivid picture of the kind of business. The man 
landed in Italy on the 6th of the month Epiph, 
finished unloading the corn-ship on the 18th Epiph, 
went on 25th Epiph to Rome, "and the place 
received us as God willed." ' After that, it is true, 

> Ctolunm III,, (in,). 

^ Ilsif. ' Ha- 

' Ilia- ' Ili- 

• Berliner Griechische TJrkunden, No. 27. 

' ThJ6 phrase has led people to regard the letter as a Christian one. The 
question, in spite of Wilcken's decision in the negative (Arohiv fiir Papyrus- 
f orschimg, 4, p. 208 f .), is still open ; the other letters of the same circle of 
correspondents do not prove that Irenaeus was a pagan. It is not altogether 


Irenaeus had to wait day after day for the con- 
clusion of his business : " to this present day not one 
(of us) has finished this business of the corn." 

Such no doubt was the sort of work that the 
writer of our letter had to do, and he was dealing 
just now with a man named Primitinus,^ to whom 
he had to pay money .^ That cannot very well be 
money for corn, for it is to be assumed that the 
people of Egypt sold corn rather than bought it. 
Primitinus might be a shipowner, claiming the cost 
of freightage of the com. In that case it is not sur- 
prising that he is now in Rome, now in Alexandria.* 
At the present time he is expected at Alexandria 
or is already there,* but will return to Rome before 
long.' First, however, he will receive his money at 
Alexandria : so he had arranged at Rome with the 
writer of the letter." The latter would have pre- 
ferred some other mode of settlement, and had 
therefore at first tried all sorts of expedients,^ but 
he came at last to !the conviction that Primitinus 
had his good reasons,^ and the writer of the letter 
is now greatly concerned to keep his agreement with 
the man. For to him, the Alexandrian shipowner, 
the Christians of the Arsinoite nome are indebted for 
their close relations with the Papas of Alexandria, 

Maximus, the Lector , and other ecclesiastical 

dignitaries in the great city.« And although the 
good harvest has greatly stimulated the trade in 
com, and the settlement of the bill might still 
perhaps be postponed to some quieter time,^" he 

imposBible that Irenaens also was an agent of the Christian corn-merchants of 
the Arsinoite nome : he speaks of a number of colleagues. The letter is 
dated 9 Mesore (2 August). 

' UiB,. nistiM. ^HjM. Ml5,j. IIl2„,21. *ina3o 

'"l2- __ 'Iljar. 'Ufa. « 11^ 


21ff- " lIiOT. 


presses for immediate payment: he wants his 
conscience to be easy,^ is anxious to keep true to 
his contract^ and not appear ungrateful.' 

If, however, the Arsinoites do send people* on 
the journey to Alexandria, to pay Primitinus, as 
good business men they must not neglect to make 
a little money at the same time. They must take 
with them home-grown linen ^ and sell it in the 
capital^; then, after Primitinus is paid,^ there 
will remain a tidy balance,^ which, with the profit 
from other ventures,' they must hand over to the 
Papas Maximus,!" that is in reality to his steward 
Theonas," to hold as a deposit for the use of the 
writer of the letter when he presently returns, God 
wiUing, to Alexandria. 12 This is perhaps not the 
first time that they have laid up such "stores"" 
at Alexandria. 

To the ecclesiastical historian this is the most 
interesting part of the letter: Egyptian provincial 
Christians employ the highest ecclesiastic in the 
country as their confidential agent in money affairs ! 
The link between the Christian corn-sellers in the 
Fayum and their agent in Rome is no casual ex- 
changer, intent on his share of profit, but the Papas 
of Alexandria! This is certainly not a bad indi- 
cation of the way in which the scattered churches 
held together socially, and of the willingness of the 
ecclesiastical leaders to help even in the worldly affairs 
of their co-reUgionists. 

And so this oldest of Christian letters preserved in 
the original, although it contains, thank God, not a 

• n„. ' iim in„. ' iii^,. ' Ula. 

= II„ ffl. Illjf. • Illef. ' IHrff. ' III,,. 

' Cf. in ilisff. the hints, now unfortunately very obscure, of the sale of 

'• Illsff. ■' Illisf. " IHitf. " nsf. 


word of dogma, is still an extraordinarily valuable 
record of Christianity in the days before Constantine 
— quite apart from its external value as an historical 
document, which Harnack has already demonstrated 
to satisfaction. Certainly this papyrus was not 
unworthy of the impressive lines from the Greek 
Old and New Testaments which were afterwards 
written on it, and inscribed with which it has come 
down to our own day. 


Letter from Psenosiris, a Christian presbyter, to Apollo, a Chris- 
tian presbyter at Cym in the Great Oasis, beginning of 
the 4th cent, a.d., papyrus from the Great Oasis, now in 
the British Museum, published by Grenfell and Hunt^ 
(Figure 32).^ 

This " original document from the Diocletian 
persecution " was made the subject of a special 
investigation by me in 1902.' The copious Ute- 
rature to which the precious fragment has given 
rise since then has been already noted,* and I will 
only add here that I have been confirmed in my 
theory of the letter by the agreement of almost all 
the subsequent writers.^ 1 here reprint the text 
with a few improvements, which do not affect my 
explanation of the letter, and with the corresponding 

' Oreelt Pa^ri, Series II., Oxford, 1897, No. 73. 

^ This reproduction is almost of the exact size of the original. 

' Mim, Origvnal-Dokwment am der Dioeletianisohen Christenvetfolgung, 
Tiibingen und Leipzig, 1902 (translated under the title The Epistle of 
Psenosirig, London, 1902; Cheap Edition, 1907). 

' Page 37, n. 3. 

' Grenfell and Hunt have meanwhile published a new example of the word 
that they print with a small letter instead of a capital, xoXinm), "harlot" 
<The Oxyrhynohus Papyri [VI.], No. 903^, 4th cent. a.d.). But this does 
not affect the possibility of my reading, IloKiTCKij, a proper name. 


alterations in the translation, and refer for the rest 
to my own little book and the other literature.^ 

To {sic) Psenosiris pres- 
byter, to Apollo presbyter, 
his beloved brother in the 
Lord, greeting. 

Before all things I salute 
thee much and all the brethren 
with thee in God. I would 
have thee know, brother, that 
the grave-diggers have brought 
here to the inward (country)* 
Politica, who hath been sent 
into the Oasis by the govern- 
ment. And I have delivered 
her unto the good and faithful 
of these grave-diggers in keep- 
ing, till her son Nilus come. 
And when he come, with God, 
he shall witness to thee con- 
cerning what things they have 
done unto her. But do thou 
also declare unto me concern- 
ing what things thou wouldest 

' On i October, 1906, 1 examined the papyrus in the British Museum, and 
convinced myself that Orenlell and Hunt were right in reading e| avruv in 
1. 13, and ■irevoaipi in 1. 1, and that 1. 9 reads not as to ma but (as Wilcken 
had pointed out meanwhile) eit to c^u. This might be the name of a place, 
eli 'Sotyib, but it is more probably a clerical error for els Ti (<ru. 

' Or (improbably) " here to Toego." 

Wevoa-ipi ■n-pea-^vre]pa> 

Trpea^vrepus wya'n-'qTm aS- 

iv K(vpi)Q} 'x^aLpeiv. 
Trpo T&v oKwv ■TToXXd ere 
5 ^ofiai Kal Toii^ Trapd a-ol 
dBe\<J3ov<s iv @(e)S). r^iv- 


a-e deXo), aSeX^e, on ol 

Td<f>ot evT)v6xaa-tv evdoBe 
ek TO eyw Trjv IIoXiTtK^v 


10 '7r£fi<f>0ei<rav eh "Oaaiv v-rro 
riyefioviaii. km, [TJavrijv 

paSiSeoKa Toii; /caXoi^ Kal 


irroK i^ avr&VT&v veKpord- 

(fxov 619 Trjpritnv, ear &v eX- 

15 6ij o i/to? avT^s NeiXo^. Kal 

orav eKdij avv 0£&, fiap- 

<Ti aoi irepl &v avrrfv TreTrot- 
i^Kaaiv. h\rl\X(io\<r\ov [Se] 


K\al ffv] irepl mv diXeii 

10 ** 




Fig. 32. — Letter from P.senosiris, a Christian presbyter, to Apollo, a Christian 
presbyter at Cysis (Great Oasis). Papyrus, beginning of the 4th cent. A.D. 
(Diocletian persecution). Now in the British Museum. 

[p. 202 


20 Qa ijSew? iroiovvri. I have done, and glaxUy will I 

ipp&aOai <re eSxofiat do them. Fare thee weU^ 
iv K{ypi)a> 0(6)w. | I pray, in the Lord God. 
On the verso the address: 

'AtroKKoavi X irapa ''Fevo- 

■n-pea^vripo) X trpetr^vTepov 
iv K(vpi)a>. 

To Apollo X from Pseno- 

presbyter X presbyter in. 

the Lord. 


Letter from Justinus, cm Egyptian Christian, to Papmtthius, a 
Christian, middle of the 4th cent, a.d., papyrus from Egypt, 
now in the University Library, Heidelberg, published by 
Deissmann ^ (Figure 33).^ 

I give here only the text and translation of the 
letter, which is typical of the popular religion of 
Egypt in the age of Athanasius and Pachomius, and 
for the rest refer to my edition, which gives a detailed 

\T& Kvpita iJLOV Kal dyairriTto] 
\dSe\^& TlairvovOLo) Xprj 

[<f>6pov 'Iov(TTivo9 'xaip^''^'] 

.[•^ ; 

5 ^[v eSei <ypa]<f>r}v[a\i, 7r[po<i 

trriv 'Xp\i)ffT6T]r]rav, Kvpie 


ayairiTe. iriarevo/iev yap 
rr/v 7roXma[i' (r]ov ivv 

To my lord and beloved 
brother Papnuthius, the son 
of Chrestophorus — Justinus,, 

. . . which it behoved [me] 
to write to thy goodness, my 
beloved lord. For we believe 
thy citizenship in heaven.. 

' Ver'&ffmtlichwigen am der Heidelberger Papyrus- Sammlung, I. (Die- 
Septnaginta-Papyii and andere altchiistliche Texte), Heidelberg, 1905, No. 6*. 
(pp. 9i-104), 

' This reproduction reduces the size of the original about one-third. On 
the left is the text of the letter, on the right a part of the verso with the? 


Thence we consider thee the 

eyidev Oeopovfiev <re rov 
10 Sea7roT7)v Koi xevov {ir)ar 

Iva oiiv iMT] iroKKh r^pd^w 

^Xvpapija-co, ev yhp [-TTO^SXr] 
XaXid ovK eK^ev^ovT\at\ 
(t)^(i;) dfiaprifj, irapa/caX& 

"15 SeinroTa, "va p,vr\iiov\i^'i\'i 
/iot €t? TOM ar/ia<; aov ev- 

/ r/ 

va Bwi]0&fiev fiepot rov 

apTi&v Ka6apuTem<s. el? 

Ifiei Tov djMipTovXdv ^ ira- 
"^0 \w Kara^Caxrov Si^ecrffai 
TO fiiKpbv eXeov Sia rov 

<f>ov '^fi&v Mayapiov. 

Trpoa-ar/wpeviw) Trdvrei roii^ 

Se\^ov'} Tjfi&v ev icB. eppm- 
'3,5 fiivov ere ^ 0i- 

a irpovoia <f>vKd^a[i\, 
iirl fieyi<7T0v XP°~ 
vov ev KB Xm, 
Kvpie dp/a'ir'qT\e\, 

master and new patron. Lest 
therefore I should write much 
and prate — for in much speak- 
ing they shall not escape sin ^ 
— I beseech thee, therefore, 
master, that thou rememberest 
me in thy holy prayers, that 
we may be able [to obtain] a 
part in the purifying from 
sins. For I am one of the 
sinners.^ Count [me] worthy, 
I beseech, and accept this 
little oil through our brother 
Magarius. I greet much all 
our brethren in the Lord. 
The divine Providence keep 
thee in health for a very 
great time in the Lord Christ, 
beloved lord. 

On the verso the address : 
■'30 [tw Kvpico] fjLov Koi drjaTrrjTS) dZeX^S) Hairvovdio) XpriirTO- 

<f>6p[ov] vap I 'lovaTWOv. 

To my lord and beloved brother Papnuthius, the son of 
■Chrestophorus, from Justinus. 

' Justinus is here quoting the Septuagint (Prov. x. 19) in a form of 
considerable textual interest. 

' This confession of sin can hardly be so genuinely felt as the peooavi of 
ithe prodigal son Antonis'Longus (letter No. 11, above). 

*nw -«**v«>^*pjapoa«B 



P2 ^ *- 





f . < 



Fig. 33. — Letter (with Address) from Justimis, an Egyptian Christian, to Papnuthius, a Christian. 
Papyrus, middle of the 4th cent. a.d. Now in the University Library, Heidelberg. 

[p. 204 



Letter from Caor, Papas of Hermwpolis, to Flavins Jbmnaeiis,. 
cm officer at Dionysias in the FajyUm, c. 346 a.d., papyrus- 
from Egypt, now in the British Museum, published by 
Kenyon ^ (Figure 34). 

This little letter is one of the finest among the 
papyri. The situation resembles that in St. Paul's, 
letter to Philemon, and the letter from the Papas to 
the officer can also be compared in contents with that 
beautiful little letter of the Apostle's, though the- 
Papas is not fit to hold a candle to St. Paul. 

TS) BeaTroTT) fid" xal aya- 

dSe\<j>& 'A^ivvem irpai ^ 
Kdop ^ ird'Tra'} 'Epfwviro- 

\eas<s X'^i^i'V-^ 
dcTrd^oofiat ' ra TreSia * g-ov 

5 yivoa-Kiv ' ere OeXto, Kvpie, 

7r[e/Jt] UavKo) tov arpa- 

' ft 


irepl Tri<s ^vyri<i,<TVV')(Oiprjae^ 

To my master and beloved 
brother Abinneus the Praepo- 
situs — Caor, Papas of Hermu- 
polis, greeting. I salute thy 
children much. I would have 
thee know, lord, concerning 
Paul the soldier, concerning 

' Greek Papyri in, the Sritish Museum, Catalogue with Texts, Vol. 11., 
London, 1898, p. 299 f,, No. 417. The facsimile is on Plate 103, and is here- 
reproduced by kind permission of the British Museum authorities (Fig. 34). 

* Abbreviation for rpcuTroa-lTu. The title vpM'ir6inTos K&arpiav is the Latin 
praefeetnx eastrorwn, 

^ I at first suspected an abbreviation Kacrrp = Kitrrpijiv. But Kenyon 
informed me (by postcard, London, W.C., 8 June, 1907) that the letters were 
certainly not Kairrp. Both Wilcken (letter, Leipzig, 5 May, 1907), Schubart 
and Carl Schmidt (postcard, Berlin 29 June, 1907) read from the facsimile- 
Kaop. The two latter conjecture that -op is the Bgyptian god's name Sor 
(as is commonly assumed, though not with certainty, to be the case in th& 
name of Origeri). 

' = xalpeiv. 

' = wiuSla. 
' = ywilxTKav. 

* = HaiiSov rm (rTpaTtilrrov. 

9 = awxupv<r<u. Wiloken read from the facsimile cvvxil>pri<rov. 


avTOV TovToa to apa§, 
eTreiSr) atr^oXw iXdtv ^ 
10 ffev ' avTe7]fiepe. * /cat 
^/t /i^* Trauo-'eTflw,' epxerai 
ew Ta5 xelpasi cro" aWco 

epp&crOai ere eu;j^o- 
/iat TToWots xpo- 
i/ot?,^' A;i;/3i6 /io" 


his flight: pardon him this 
once, seeing that I am without 
leisure to come unto thee at 
this present. And, if he desist 
not, he will come again into 
thy hands' another time. 
Fare thee well, I pray, many 
years," my lord brother. 

The letter forms part of the correspondence of 
Mavius Abinnaeus, a Christian officer, who about 
the middle of the fourth century a.d. was praefectus 
castrorum of the camp of auxiliary cavalry at Diony- 
;sias in the Arsinoite nome. Important alike in 
respect to the history of civilisation, of language, and 
■of the Christian religion, this correspondence consists 
of some sixty original papyrus letters, some long, some 
short, some at London and some at Geneva, and 
istUl, in spite of excellent provisional publications by 

1 = aiTu TovTo rb &ira^. This is a still older example of the substantival use 
o£ fiiroj which occurs in the inscription of King Siloo (Ditteuberger, Orientit 
•Ehmeoi Jnser^tiones Seleotae, No. 201 ; cf. p. 134, n. 1 above), vrhich 
B Lepsius took to be a Copticism. See Dittenberger's notes, 7 and 10. 
TjVilcken considers it to be popular Greek. 

' = iri. This (r& is not a clerical error, but a vulgar use. 

' = aiS7iiiep6v, or airrifjiepSv t 

' = irdXo'. 

' This B,ii /iii = ii.v iiHi occurs twice in the bad boy Theon's letter to his 
father Theon (2nd or 3rd cent. A.D.), Oxyrhynchus Papyri, No. 1198, i«; 
>cf. above, letter No. 14. 

' This is Wilcken's reading from the facsimile. Kenyon read at first 
■ireiSerai. = ^eiScTM. According to the corrigenda in Vol. III. of the Greek 
Papyri in the British Musewm, Grenfell and Hunt also read Taia-erai. 

' = &\\o «7ra|, of. n. I above. 

' I.e. he will not desert again while executing an order, but will return 
to you. 

'» xp&vos, " year," is late Greek. 


f^\ lHn^0i^k^^ 



Fig. 34. — Letter from Caor, Papas of Hermupolis, to Flavins Abinnaeus, an 
officer at Dionysias in the Faytim. Papyrus, cvrca 346 A.D. Now in the British 
nj " • - - - thorities, 

[p. 206 


Kenyon^ and Nicole,^ awaiting a collective edition/ 
The earliest dated letter in this priceless collection 
was written in the year 343, the most recent in 

351 A.D. 

Among the numerous unknown persons who have 
come to life again as correspondents of Abinnaeus in" 
this collection one of the most remarkable is the 
writer of the present letter, Caor, Papas of Hermu- 
polis. Like Kenyon* I at first took him to be a 
bishop, understanding the word Papas in the same 
way as in the Christian letter from Rome.^ But I 
was unable to answer the difficult question, which 
HermupoUs could then be meant ? Lines 9 and 10 
would suit neither HermupoUs Magna nor Hermu- 
polis Parva, the only sees of this name ; such an 
expression as we have there could only be used by 
somebody who Uved not far from the residence of 
the addressee. I talked the matter over with my 
friend Wilcken, and he reminded me that several 
other letters in the correspondence of Abinnaeus 
were written from a village called Hermupolis, in 
the south-west of the Fayum, which is mentioned 
in the papyri from the Ptolemaic age down to 
the seventh century a.d.^ It then seemed to me 
that the obvious thing was to identify the Her- 
mupolis of our papyrus with this village, and to 
regard the Papas not as a bishop but as a simple 
priest. The word Papas was applied in early times 

' €heek Papyri m the British Museum, Vol. II. pp. 267-307,; and 307 fE. 

" Les Papyrus de Geneve, Nos. 45-65. 

' Wacfcen's valuable notes should not be forgotten, Archlv fiir Papyrus- 
iorschung, 1, p. 162 ; 3, p. 397. 

' Page 299. 

" Letter No. 16, above. 

• Details in Grenfell, Hunt, and Goodspeed, T!ie Tehtwnis Papvn, Part U. 
liOndon, 1907, p. 376. 


to village priests,^ so there is no difficulty in so under^ 
standing it here. This degradation of the writer of 
the letter in no way detracts from the value of the 
letter. Of the bishops of the fourth century we 
already knew more than enough ; in Caor, who calls 
himself " pope," but is no pope, we rejoice to meet 
a representative of village Christianity, and we range 
him beside Psenosiris, presbyter in the Oasis a genera- 
tion earlier. 

Whether the "Pope" of Hermupolis was master 
of the Greek language seems to me to be a doubtful 
question. The good man was certainly not learned ; 
indeed, his syntax is so rudimentary and his ortho- 
graphy so autocratic that many a rude soldier's 
letter shows to advantage beside this of the Papas. 

' In the Theologische Literatutzeituug, 27 (1902) col. 360, Harnack notes 
the earliest passage known to him: in the Ma/rtyriwrn Theodati a Galatian 
village-priest is called Papas. This passage is no doubt older than our 
papyrus. (H. D[elehaye], however, in the Analecta Bollandiana, 27, p. 443, 
considers that the Ma/rtyriwm is not so old.) Cf. further the Thesaurus 
Shraeeae Linguae, s.v. IIiiTras. The difEerentiation, there shown to be as old 
as Eustathius of Thessalouica {Opuseula, p. 38, 1. 58, about 1200 A.D.), between 
TroTos the distinguished bishop and ttottSs the insignificant presbyter is 
probably mere learned trifling. The history of the meaning of the word 
Papas is highly interesting. The question is, whether the grand word (for 
bishop or even archbishop or pope) degenerated, so that it could be applied 
to every presbyter, or whether an originally vulgar word was gradually 
ennobled. Looking merely at the comparative frequency of the word in its 
two meanings, one would be inclined to suppose that degeneration had 
occurred. But the facts of the case were probably the other way round: 
the word Trdiras, a native of Asia Minor (A. Dieterich, Eine Mitliraslitwgie 
erldutert, Leipzig, 1903, p. 147), was probably first adopted from the popular 
Christianity of Asia Minor, and rose only gradually to its narrower and more 
distinguished meaning. Cf. U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorffi, Griechisohes 
Lesebuch, IL 2 (Brlauterungen),* Berlin, 1902, p. 260 ; and A. Margaret 
Bamsay in Sir W. M. Ramsay's Studies in the History and Art of the Bastem 
Provinces, p. 27. If we now possess more examples of the grand meaning 
than of the other, that is because documents of popular Christianity have not 
been preserved in such numbers as those of the higher class (of. the conclusion 
of this chapter, p. 242 f.). There is therefore philological justification for the 
old saying that the pettiest priestling conceals a popeling. [The German 
proverb says, " Es ist tein Pfafilein so klein, Es steokt ein Fapstlein drein "— 
" No priestling so mean But hides a popeling, I ween." Tk.] 


Perhaps the man's mother-tongue and language for 
ordinary occasions was Coptic ^ ; Greek he had learnt 
in a very vulgar form, and, good or bad, he made the 
best use he could of it. But I cannot help feeling 
that this violence to grammar, which would be un- 
endurable in a book, is really not so bad in a letter, 
especially in this letter : it merely serves to strengthen 
the tone of unaffected sincerity. 

What is the letter all about? Paul, one of the 
soldiers of the garrison under Abinnaeus, has been 
entrusted with some commission to execute,^ and has 
failed to return to his commanding officer. After 
more or less vagabondage the deserter tires of the 
business and would like to go back. But how is he 
to set about it ? how escape the punishment that is 
certainly in store for him ? Then at HermupoUs he 
makes a village-priest his confidant and intercessor, 
promising by all that is sacred that he will behave 
better in future. The Papas is in some doubt about 
the case ; perhaps he knows the ecclesiastical ordinances 
dating fi-om the concordat between church and state, 
by which deserters are to be visited with ecclesiastical 
penalties, and he is not sure whether the man's good 
resolutions may be trusted. But the pastor triumphs 
over the man of ecclesiastical discipline, and he good- 
naturedly gives the deserter this note to take with 
him. If his Greek is not unexceptionable, his 
command of the epistolary formulae of an age of 
growing formahsm is at least as good as that of the 
polite and unctuous Justinus. ' Without further 
argument he throws into the scale for Paul his 

' Cf. the use of 4irof, perhaps (?) under Coptic influence. 

' This seems a fiiir inference from lines 11 and 12. 

" Note the formal resemblances between the letters of Caor and Justinus 
(No. 18 above), and compare the stereotyped nature of the formulae in the 
correspondence of Abinnaeus as a whole, 



personal friendship with Abinnaeus and his children, 
and then at once ventures to ask for a pardon. 
" This once " is delightful, and the pastor, fore- 
seeing the weakness of the flesh, must have smiled 
as he wrote "if he desist not." The officer, who 
knows the fellow, is intended to smile too, in spite 
of his wrath, and it may be that Paul wiU after all 
go scot free. 

This little genre painting gains in interest when we 
remember that the treatment of deserters was a 
problem that occupied the early church and even led 
to a conciliar decree. In the year 314 the Council 
of Aries determined "that those who throw doAvn 
their arms in time of peace shall be excommunicate." ^ 
Caor the Papas of Hermupolis, however, solved the 
problem in his own way — and, I think, not badly. 


Letter from Samuel, Jacob, and Aaron, three Egyptian candi- 
dates for the diaconate, to their bishop, Abraham of Her- 
m(mthis{?), c. 600 a.d., Coptic ostracon from Egypt, now 
in the possession of the Egypt Exploration Fund, published 
by Crum ^ (Figure S5). 

This and the following Coptic ostracon, of the 
period precedrag the tremendous upheaval that Islam 
brought upon Egypt, may close our selection of 
letters. The Bishop Abraham to whom the first 
ostracon is addressed, and who probably caused the 

' Canon III: De his qui arma proiciunt in pace plaouit abstineri eos 
a oommunione; cf. Harnaok, Militia Cfi/risti, Die christliohe Religion und 
der Soldatenstand in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten, Tubingen, 1905, 
p. 87 ff. 

' Coptie Ostraea from, the Collections of the Egypt Emploration Fwid, the 
Cairo Miaeym amd others, No. 29 (p. 8 of the lithographed part, and p. 9 of 
the letterpress). The facsimile of the back of the ostracon (Fig. 35) is 
reproduced here from Plate I. with the kind consent of the Egypt Bxploratioa 


Fig. 35. — Letter from Samuel, Jacob, and Aaron, candidates 
for the diaconate, to Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis (?). 
Coptic ostracon, oirca 600 A.D. (verso). Now in the possession 
of the Egypt Exploration Fund, by whose permission it is 

[p. 210 


second to be written, Crum^ conjectures with good 
reasons to be identical with the Bishop of Hermon- 
this who is known from his will, now extant on 
papyrus ^ in the British Museum, to have been Uving 
as an anchorite on the Divine Hill of Memnonia 
near Thebes, and who died most probably towards 
the end of the 6th cent. a.d.^ I owe the translation 
of these instructive texts to the kindness of my friend 
Carl Schmidt, of Berlin.* 


(-r)* I, Samuel, and Jacob and Aaron, we write to our 
holy father Apa Abraham, the ibishop.* Seeing' we have 
requested* thy paternity that thou wouldest ordain' us 
deacons,^" we are ready" to observe the commands ^^ and canons ^^ 
and to obey those above us and be obedient ^* to the superiors 
and to watch our beds on the days of communion ^' and to . ' . : 
the Gospel ^* according to ^' John and learn it by heart ^* 


by the end of Pentecost. If we do not learn it by heart and 
cease to practise it,^' there is no hand on us. And we will not 
trade nor take usury nor will we go abroad without asking 
(leave). I, Hemai, and Apa Jacob, son of Job, we are 
guarantors for Samuel, I, Simeon and Atre, we are guarantors 
for Jacob. I, Patermute the priest,^" and Moses and Lassa, 
we are guarantors for Aaron. I, Patermute, this least ^^ of 

' Coptic Oatraoa, p. xiii f . 

' Greek Papyri in the British Musewm (Vol. I.), No. 77 (p. 231 ff.). 

' CoplAe Ostraea, p. xiii f . 

* [As far as possible the wording of Crum's (incomplete) translation has 
been nsed here. Tb.] 

* Coptic letters generally begin with the monogram of Christ. 

« irlaKmm. ' iiraS-fi. [Cram compares 1 Cor. i. 22 (K.V.). Tr.] 

' irapaKaKeiv. ' x^'PO^oveTv. "> Siixovos. " Irmfios. 

" iiiToKal. ^' Kavivei. " ivoTiaaeaBai. " avviyuy. 

" eiayyiSiov. [Crum gives " master (?)" in the place of Schmidt's blank. Te.] 
" KaT&. !' (iTroo-TijWfeiK. 

'• iixKerav. [Crum has : "and if we do not so but keep it by us(?) and 
recite it." Tr.] ^ irperpiirepos). ^' iMxiTTOs. 


priests,^ have been requested^ and have written this tablet' 
and am witness. 

One wonders what the episcopal archives of the 
holy father Apa Abraham can have looked hke, 
destined to contain such potsherd petitions as this.* 
Probably they were as primitive as the potsherd 
itself, as primitive as the intellectual equipment of 
the three prospective ecclesiastics, Samuel, Jacob, 
and Aaron, who have displayed the extent of their 
learning, ability, and ambition on this ostracon. We 
ought rather to say, they got the least of all presbyters, 
Patermute, to display it for them, for — there is no 
concealing it — they themselves could perhaps only 
read, and not write at all. 

The three worthies are about to be ordained 
deacons ; but before the " hand " of the bishop 
" is on them " they must fulfil the requirements 
of the sacred ordinances.^ They must be prepared, 
firstly to keep the commandments ° and rules, ^ 
secondly to obey their superiors, thirdly " to watch 
their beds"^ on communion days, fourthly to 
abjure commerce and take no usury, and fifthly 
to fiilfil the duty of residence. All this, however, I 
expect, troubled them less than a special condition 
which the bishop had imposed upon them. Apa 
Abraham had set other candidates to learn the 

' rpeQtrph-epos'). ' alretv. '' v\i^. 

* Cmm (p. 9f.) has published a number of similar petitions from 

' Cf . Crnm's excellent citations (p. 9) from Egyptian ecclesiastical law, 
which I have made use of in what follows. 

* Of God and the bishop ; this is clear from the allied ostraca. 
' Of the Church. 

* Cmm thinks this refers to sexual continence of the married clergy 
(postcard to the author, Aldeburgh, 13 September, 1907). Still it should be 
possible, I think, to explain the expression with reference to watching 
through the nights before communion. 


Gospel according to Matthew/ or according to 
Mark/ or a gospel,' or a whole gospel* by heart, or 
to write out the Gospel according to John ° ; Bishop 
Aphu of Oxyrhynchus once required of a candidate 
for deacon's orders five-and-twenty Psalms, two 
Epistles of St. Paul, and a portion of a gospel to be 
learnt by heart ® ; and the task assigned to our three 
friends was to learn by heart the Gospel according to 
John by the end of Whitsuntide and practise reciting 
it/ Failing this, they could not be ordained. This 
stipulation presupposes some sort of examination 
by the bishop before ordination. The sureties pro- 
duced by the candidates— three by one candidate, 
and two each by the others — are again in accordance 
with the ecclesiastical regulations.^ 

A singular revelation of sorry circumstances this 
potsherd letter must be to those who imagine that 
three hundred years after the triumph of Christianity 
aU the young clergy of Egypt would be theologians 
gifted with the knowledge of an Origen. But there 
can be no talk of a decline of learning in the case : 
the average education of the clergy probably never 
had been greater in this remote country district. 
And Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis, with his 

' Ostracon No. 31, Oram, p. 9. 

'' Ostracon No. Ad. 7, Crum, p. 10. 

' Ostracon No. 34, Crum, p. 10. 

■* Ostracon No. 39, Crum, p. 11. 

' Ostracon No. 87, Cram, p. 10. This probably throws some light on the 
origin of the gospel texts on ostraoa already discussed (p. 48 fE.). We might 
suppose that they were written by prospective ecclesiastics at the bishop's " 
orders. Our general judgment of the texts would not be affected by this 
supposition ; these potsherd-clerics are certainly not to be counted with the 
cultured class, they belong to the non-Uterary common people. 

' Evidence in Crum, p. 9, where still more examples are given. 

' The future historian of this custom of learning by heart must not neglect 
the similar phenomena in Judaism and Islam. , Early Christian material is 
collected by E. Preuschen, Eyzantinische Zeitschrift, 15 (1906) p. 644. 

» Cf. Crum, p. 9. 


sympathy for the life of an anchorite, was not likely 
to be the man to raise the standard of learning 
among his people. The numerous documents from 
his hand, or from his chancery, written on the material 
used by the very poorest, and published by Crum, 
show him to have been a practical man, and par- 
ticularly a man of discipline. 


Letter probably from Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis (9) in 
Egypt to the ckrgy of his diocese, c. 600 a.d., Coptic 
ostracon from Egypt, now in the possession of the Egypt 
Exploration Fund, published by Crum ^ (Figure 36). 

There may be some doubt concerning the persons 
to whom this episcopal letter was sent. It deals 
with the excommunication of a certain Psate, who 
was guilty of some misconduct towards the poor. 
The letter might therefore have been addressed to 
Psate's own church, but it is equally possible that 
copies of the letter of excommunication were sent 
to aU the churches in the diocese.^ 

The question, What was Psate guUty of ? depends 
on the interpretation of /xauXi^o), a word borrowed 
from the Greek, which keeps on recurring in the 
letter. It is difficult to say' what its meaning is 
here. The lexicographer Hesychius says it means 
" to act as pander," * and in this sense it occurs 

• ' Coptic Ostraca, No. 71 (p. 16 f. of the lithographed text, and p. 13 of the 
letterpress). The facsimile of the back of the ostracon (Plate I.) is here 
reproduced by kind permission of the Egypt Exploration Fund (Fig. 36). 

' Of. the similar practice of the West at this period, F. Kober, Der 
Ki/reheribamn nach den Grumdsdtzen des canormehen Meohtt, Tiibingen, 1857, 
p. 177. 

' E. &.. Sophocles' lexicon fails us completely : neither of its two quotations 
can be found. The information in the Thesaurus is better. 

' IxavXlj^uv puurTpoireiuv. 

Fig. 36. — Letter probably from Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis (?) 
to the clergy of his diocese. Coptic ostracon, eirca 600 A.D. (verso). 
Now in the possession of the Egypt Exploration Fund, by whose 
permission it is reproduced. 

[p. 214 


according to Johannes Baptista Cotelerius in the 
Nomocanon edited by him/ It is, however, a question 
whether it has not a wider meaning there, something- 
like "to bring into misery."^ In an old Greek 
penitentiary^ the word occurs in a question of the- 
father confessor, probably in the meaning "to seduce.'" 
I know no other instances of the use of the word. 
In the case of this ostracon the meanings "act as- 
pander " and " seduce," as Crum and Carl Schmidt- 
pointed out, do not suit particularly well, although 
they are not absolutely impossible. I conjecture 
the wider meaning " oppress," " bring into misery,"' 
and I have employed it * in the following translation 
by Carl Schmidt. 


Since (eVetSj;) I have been informed that Psate oppresseth '" 
the poor and they have told me saying,* " He oppresseth ' us 
and maketh us poor and wretched"; he that oppresseth* his; 
neighbour is altogether reprobate' and he is like unto Judas 
who rose ^^ from supper ^^ with his Lord and betrayed ^^ Him, 
as^' it is written, "He that eateth my bread hath lifted up 
his heel against me.'"^* He that oppresseth '= his neighbour 

' EccleHae Graecae Monvmenta, Tomns I., Luteoiae Parisiorum, 1677, 
p. 158 A, cf. p. 734 C : eight years of penance are imposed on the iiavUiav. 

' The' iiavMiuv is in company with the men who plough false furrows, give 
short measure and short weight, and sow their neighbours' fields (?). 

' Edited by Jo. Moriuus in his Commenta/rvui Sittoricus de JKscipHna in: 
AAmvnwtratione Sacramenti Poenitentiae, p. 466 of the Venice edition of 1702; 
which I use, ifiaffXiaAs rtva ; " hast thou seduced any one to unchastity 1 " 

' Crum says "ill-use." (Tb.) 

' Carl Schmidt suspects a clerical error here. 
' fw,v\i^ay. 

' Crum translates "is excluded from the feast." 

'• Carl Schmidt prefers " who sat." 

" deTirvov. " rapahSbvax. " Kari. 

" Pealm xl. [xli.] 10 as quoted in John xiii. 18. 


is altogether reprobate and he is like unto the man to whom 
Jesus said, " It were better for him if he had not been bom," ^ 
that is Judas. He that oppresseth ^ his neighbour is altogether 
reprobate and he is like unto them that spat in His face ' and 
smote Him on the head.* He that oppresseth ' his neighbour 
is altogether reprobate and he is like unto Gehazi, unto whom 
the leprosy of Naaman did cleave, and unto his seed.* The 
man that oppresseth' his neighbour is altogether reprobate 
and he is like unto Cain, who slew his brother. The man that 
oppresseth * 


his neighbour is altogether reprobate and he is like unto Zimri, 
who slew his master.' He that oppresseth i" his neighbour is 
altogether reprobate and he is like unto Jeroboam, who 
(oppressed?) Israel, sinning (?)." He that oppresseth ^^ his 
neighbour is altogether reprobate and he is like unto them 
that accused Daniel the prophet.'' He that oppresseth'* his 
neighbour is altogether reprobate and he is like unto them 
that accused Susanna.'^ But '* he that oppresseth '' his neigh- 
bour is altogether reprobate and he is like unto the men that 
cried, " His blood be on us and on our children." '" The man 
that oppresseth'* his neighbour is altogether reprobate and 
he is like unto the soldiers ^^ that said, " Say ye. His disciples ^' 
came by night and stole Him away, while we slept." ^^ 

' Matt. xxvi. 2i = Mark xiv. 21. 

' Matt. xxvi. 67 {| Mark xiv. 65. 

* Ibid. " On the head " is inexact. 

• (TTeipiw.. The allusion is to 2 Kings v. 27. 
' irnvKl^av. ' navHiav. 

' 2 Kings ix. 31, Za/t^pel 6 <poi>evriis toO Kvptov airov, " Zimri who slew his 

'» imvUiav. " 1 Kings xii. 30. "= ixavklieiv. 

" irpoipriTris. Dan. vi. 13, 24. " /iavKlj^iiv. 

» Susanna 28 flE. >» Si. 

" iMvUteiv. " JMatt. xxvii. 25. " /rnvKlteai. 

" This is a slight error of the bishop's; the words were spoken to the 
soldiers, not by them. 

" fiaSiyrat. 

« Matt, xxviii. 13. 


This episcopal letter, which we may regard as a kind 
of letter of excommunication, has nothing particularly 
original about it. It is quite certain that practically 
all of it is well-worn material, and that even the 
monotonous formulae of excommunication are 
borrowed.^ But this record of episcopal discipline 
was most certainly intelligible to common folk and 
effective with them, and in the severity against Psate, 
who had wronged " the poor," we see the survival of 
a sentiment thoroughly characteristic of the primitive 

4. In the foregoing pages we have put together 
a collection of one-and-twenty letters of ancient date. 
Had we merely printed the text of the letters, and 
nothing more, a casual reader might have supposed 
as he turned the pages that he had before him frag- 
ments of ancient literature. Witkowski's magnificent 
collection of letters of the Ptolemaic age, which 
happens to be included in Teubner's " Bibliotheca 
Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum," is no doubt 
placed by many purchasers without further thought 

' For the passage about Judas and for the form in general of. the Nomo- 
<;anon above cited in Ootelerins, I. 155 C, devripa a/iaprrla irTiv Strns . . . luaet 
«a2 KaToKaKei rbv irXritrlov airoS. j/ioios yip iarai toS iropoSciffoiiTOS tAc xipiov. St4 
Kol hct' aiirm ^x""" Z*^/""*. "the second aiu is, whosoever . . . hateth and 
slandereth his neighbour ; for he is like unto him that betrayed the Lord. 
Therefore shall they also have their portion together with him." Judas is 
frequently the type of the reprobate with whom no communion is possible : 
{^01 t]V fieplda ToC EiovSa toC [rpoS&rov] toO Seavirrov iifuip 'l[ri(ToS Xpcffrlov, 
" may he have the portion of Judas, the betrayer of our Lord Jesus Christ," is 
the imprecation in the epitaph of a Christian deaconess at Delphi (not later 
than 6th cent. A.D.) on whomsoever shall open the tomb. Bulletin de Corre- 
spondance HellSnique, 23 (1899) p. 274, and the same curse is found in many 
other epitaphs (Victor Schultze, Die Katakomhen, Leipzig, 1882, p. 15 ff . ; Miinz, 
Anatheme und Yerwiinschungen auf christUchen Monumenten, Annalen des 
Vereins fiir Nassauische Altertnmskunde und Geschichtsforschung, 14 [1887], 
p. 169 S..), also in the official anathema of the Council of Toledo, 633 A.D., 
and other councils (Kober, Der Kvrchenbaim, pp. 41, 37). Of course the eccle- 
siastical formulae have been influenced by Jewish precedent : cf. the leprosy 
of Gehazi in oar ostracon and in a Jewish formulary cited by Kober, p. 5 f . 


on the same shelf as the other Scriptores. A glance, 
however, at the facsimiles of the original letters will 
banish at once in almost every case the thought of 
literature : no page of an ancient book ever looked 
like that letter of Antonis Longus to his mother 
Neilus, or like the ostracon addressed by the three 
candidates to Bishop Abraham. And whoever goes 
on to make himself acquainted with the contents of 
the texts wiU see still more clearly that he has before 
him not products of literary art but documents of 
hfe, and that Mnesiergus, Hilarion, and Apion are 
not Scriptores, nor is even Psenosiris, although that 
little letter of his, snatched from the dust of the 
Great' Oasis, already figures in two histories of litera- 
ture. Though we have printed them in a book, these 
ancient texts have nothing to do with books and 
things bookish. They are non-literary — most of them 
popular as well as non-literary — admirably adapted to 
familiarise us with the essential characters of popular 
and non-literary writing, and with the character of 
the non-literary letter in particular. 

What is a letter? A letter is something non- 
literary, a means of communication between persons 
who are separated from each other. Confidential 
and personal in its nature, it is intended only for the 
person or persons to whom it is addressed, and not at 
all for the public or any kind of publicity. A letter 
is non-literary, just as much as a lease or a will. 
There is no essential difference between a letter 
and an oral dialogue; it might be described as 
an anticipation of the modern conversation by 
telephone, and it has been not unfairly called a con- 
versation halved.^ It concerns nobody but the person 

' The expression occurs in antiquity. Demetrius, Se eloeutione {Epistolo- 
i/rapM Graeci, rec. Hercher, p. 13) traces back to Artemon, the editor of 


who wrote it and the person who is to open it. From 
all other persons it is meant to be a secret. Its 
contents may be as various as life itself, and hence 
it is that letters preserved from ancient times form 
a delightful collection of the liveliest instantaneous 
photographs of ancient life. The form of the letters, 
also varies greatly; but in the course of centuries, 
a number of formal peculiarities were developed, and 
we not infrequently find the same forms becoming- 
stereotyped into formulae in civihsations apparently 
quite independent of one another. But neither con- 
tents, form, nor formulae can be decisive in deter- 
mining the characteristic nature of a letter. Whether 
the letter is written on lead or on earthenware, on 
papyrus or parchment, on wax or on palm-leaf, on 
pink notepaper or on an international postcard, is as; 
immaterial as whether it is clothed in the conventional 
formulae of the period. Whether it is well expressed 
or badly, long or short, written by a soldier or a bishop,, 
that does not alter the peculiar characteristic which 
makes it a letter.^ Nor are the special contents any 
more decisive : the cool business letter of Harpocras, 
the impudent boyish scrawl of Theon, and the sancti- 
monious begging-letter of Justinus are distinguished 
•from the coarseness of Hilarion and the despair of 
Antbnis Longus only by the tone and the spirit in 
which they are written. 

If the non-literary character of the letter, especially 
the ancient letter, has not always been clearly grasped, 
the explanation and excuse he in the fact that even 

Aristotle's letters, the saying that " a letter is the half of a conversation." 
See further in Bihelstudien, p. 190 ; Bible Studiee, p. 3 ff. Aurelius Archelans,. 
the lenefieiariug whose letter we have cited above (No. 12), also knows this 
comparison of a letter with a conversation: "hano epistulam ant' oculos 
habeto, domine, pnta[t]o me tecum loqui." This beautiful simile was therefore 
quite a popular one. 
' Cf. BibeUtudien, p. 190 ; Bible Stndiei, p. 4. 


in antiquity the form of the non-Hterary letter was 
occasionally employed for literary purposes. At the 
time of the rise of Christianity the literary letter, 
the epistle as we call it,^ had long been a favourite 
genre with writers among the Greeks, Romans, and 

What is an epistle? An epistle is an artistic 
literary form, a species of literature, just Uke the 
dialogue, the oration, or the drama. It has nothing 
in common with the letter except its form ; apart 
from that one might venture the paradox that the 
epistle is the opposite of a real letter. The contents 
of an epistle are intended for publicity — they aim at 
interesting "the public." If the letter is a secret, 
the epistle is cried in the market ; every one may read 
it, and is expected to read it: the more readers it 
obtains, the better its purpose will be fulfilled. The 
main feature of the letter, viz. the address and the 
detail pecuUar to the letter, becomes in the epistle 
mere external ornament, intended to keep up the 
illusion of "epistolary" form. Most letters are, 
partly at least, unintelligible unless we know the 
addressees and the situation of the sender. Most 
epistles are intelligible even without our knowing the 
supposed addressee and the author. To attempt to 
fathom the soul of a letter-writer is always ven- 
turesome ; to understand what an epistolographer 
has written is apprentice-work by comparison. The 
epistle differs from a letter as the dialogue from 
a conversation, as the historical drama does from 
history, as the carefiiUy turned funeral oration does 
from the halting words of consolation spoken by a 

' E.g., Adolf Wagner writes in Die Hilfe, 2 (1896) p. 2, to Friedrioh Naumann, 
the editor of that newspaper : " But, my dear sir, what was meant to be a 
mere letter has grown into a long epistle — a regular essay, though written 
in haste." 


father to his motherless child— as art differs from 
nature. The letter is a piece of life, the epistle is 
a product of literary art. 

Of course there are things intermediate between 
letter and epistle. There are so-called letters in 
which the writer ceases to be naive, perhaps because 
he thinks himself a celebrity and casts a side-glance 
at the public between every word, coquettishly court- 
ing the pubhcity to which his lines may some day 
attain. " Letters " such as these, epistolary letters, 
half intended for publication, are bad letters ; with 
their frigidity, affectation, and vain insincerity ^ they 
show us what a real letter should not be. 

5. A large number of examples of both groups, 
letters and epistles, have come down to us from, 

For a letter to become public and reach posterity 
is, strictly speaking, abnormal. The letter is essen- 
tially ephemeral, transitory as the hand that wrote it 
or the eyes for which it was destined." But thanks 
to loving devotion, or learning, or accident, or spite, 
we possess and may read letters that were not 
addressed to us. At an early date it became the 

' Letters such as these no doubt inspired Grillparzer's paradox (recorded by 
August Sauer in the Deutsche Literatnrzeitung, 27, 1906; col. 1315) : " every 
letter is a lie." [Franz Grillparzer, the great Austrian dramatist, 1791-1872.— 
The English reader may like to see the same thought expressed in character- 
istic style by Dr. Johnson. Criticising the letters of 'Pope, he says in the 
I4vet of the Poets : " There is, indeed, no transaction which offers stronger 
temptations to fallacy and sophistication than epistolary intercourse." Tk.] 

^ Adolf Schmitthenner says (Die Christliche Welt, 15, 1901, col. 731) : " Printed 
letters are really a self-contradiction. A letter implies pen and ink, the one- 
person who writes it, the other to whom it is written, and nothing more. It is 
a substitute for intercourse by word of mouth. Such intercourse ends with 
the spoken word and leaves no trace, save in our inward being. Should it not 
be the same also with that which takes its place ? Ought we not from time to. 
time to bum all our correspondence ?— We do not." [Schmitthenner was a. 
Heidelberg pastor and stoiy-writer of distinction, 1854-1907. Tr.] 


custom after the death of eminent men to collect 
their manuscript remains. The first case of the 
publication of such a collection of real letters among 
the Greeks is considered to be that of Aristotle's, 
soon after his death in 322 B.C. Whether fragments 
of this genuine collection are preserved among the 
" Letters of Aristotle " ^ that have come down to us, 
is a matter of question. The traditionary letters of 
Isocrates^ (f 338 b.c.) are probably to some extent 
genuine, and the letters of Plato have been recently, 
in part at least, pronounced genuine by eminent 
scholars. Authentic letters of Epicurus (f 270 b.c.) 
have also come down to us, among them a fragment 
of a delightfully natural little letter to a child,^ 
comparable with Luther's celebrated letter to his son 
Hansichen.* We may mention further one example 
among the Latins.^ Cicero (t 43 b.c.) wrote an 
enormous number of letters, four collections of which 
have come down to us. Still more valuable to us 
in many respects than these letters of great men 
are the numerous letters of unknown persons which 
the new discoveries have brought to light, and of 

' Edited by E. Hercher in the Eputolograplii Qraeci, pp. 172-174. 

" In Heroher, pp. 319-336. 

' In Hermann Usener, Spicurea, Leipzig, 1887, p. 154 ; BiUe StvMei, p. 28 
and U. von Wilamowitz-MoellendorfE, GrieoMsohes Xiesebuch, I. 2,' p. 396, and 
II. 2^ p. 260. It is not certain whether the child was Epicurus' own. 

* [See Letters of Martin Luther selected and translated by Margaret A. 
Currie, London, 1908, p. 221. Tb.] 

' Hermann Peter, Der Brief in der romischen Litteratur : Litterargeschioht- 
liche TJntersuohungen und Zusammenfassungen (Abhandlungen der philo- 
logisch-historischen Classe der Kbnigl. Siichsischen Gesellschaft der Wissen,- 
schaften, Ed. XX. No. III.), Leipzig, 1901, supplies a great deal o£ material, 
but suffers from lack of a distinction between letter and epistle, isolates 
" Boman " literature too rigidly, describes the suppression of individuality as a 
characteristic feature of classical antiquity, and judges the men of the period 
far too much according to the accidental remains of classical literature. Cf. 
my review in the Theologische Literaturzeitung, 27 (1902) cols. 41 ffi.— I have 
not seen Loman's Nalateniohap, I., Groningen, 1899, pp. 14-42 ; cf. G. A. van 
den Bergh van Eysinga, Protestantisohe Monatshefte, 11 (1907) p. 260. 


which we have already given a selection in this book. 
They possess the inestimable advantage that they have 
come down to us in the autograph original, and that 
their writers had not the slightest thought of future 
pubhcation, so that they constitute a completely 
unprejudiced testimony on the part of the forgotten 
writers. They not only yield valuable evidence 
regarding the nature and form of the ancient letter/ 
they are also instructive to those who study the 
nature and form of BibUcal and early Christian 

It is not surprising that we possess so many 
specimens of ancient epistles. As an artistic literary 
form the epistle has no intention of being transitory. 
Being published from the first in a considerable 
number of copies it cannot so easily perish as a letter, 
of which there is only one or at most two copies 
made. It is moreover a very easily manageable 
form of literature. It knows no rigid laws of style ; 
it is only necessary to employ the few epistolary 
flourishes and then affix an address. Hence it comes 
that every man of letters, even the least well-fitted, 
was able to write epistles, and the epistle became one 

' It was therefore an extremely promising subject that the Philosophical 
Faculty of Heidelberg set for a prize competition in 1898-9 : " On the basis 
of a chronological review of Greek private letters recently discovered in 
papyri, to describe and exhibit historically the forms of Greek epistolary style." 
The subject was worked out by G. A. Gerhard, but down to the present only 
the first part has been published (of. above, p. 148, n. 5). 

' Some day, when we possess exact chronological statistics of the formulae 
employed in ancient letters, we shall be better able to answer a whole series of 
hitherto unsolved problems relating to the Biblical and early Church writings, 
fropi the approximate chronology of the Second and Third Epistles of St. John 
(and so, indirectly, of the First Epistle and the Gospel of St. John) to the question 
of the authenticity of the epistle of Theonas to Lucianus (cf. Eamack, Theol. 
Lit.-Ztg. 11, 1886, cols. 319 fE., and Geichiohte der altchrigtliohen LUeratur, I. 
p. 790 ; Bardenhewer, GeseMohte der aUkirehUchen lAieratw, II. p. 216 ffi.), etc. 
On the other hand many of the early Christian letters that have come down to 
us through literary sources can be exactly dated, and thus enable us to draw 
conclusions as to the age of some papyri that have not yet been dated. 


of the most popular genres. Right down to the 
present day it has remained a favourite in all litera- 
tures. Of ancient epistolographers there are, for 
instance, Dionysius of Halicamassus and Plutarch 
among the Greeks, L. Annaeus Seneca and the 
younger Pliny among the Romans, to say nothing 
of the poetical epistles of Lucilius, Horace, and Ovid. 
The epistle was especially frequent in 'the literature 
of magic and religion. Nor must we forget mention 
of one special feature in the literary history, i.e. 
pseudonymous (or rather "heteronymous") epis- 
tolography. Particularly under the successors of 
Alexander and in the early Empire numerous epistles 
were written under false names, not by swindlers, 
but by unknown men of letters who for some reason 
or other did not wish to mention their own namef 
They wrote " letters " of Demosthenes, of Aristotle 
and Alexander, of Cicero and Brutus. It would be 
a mistake to brand as downright forgeries these 
products of a literary instinct that was certainly not 
very sincere or powerful. It is certain that letters 
were forged, but it is equally certain that most 
"pseudonymous" epistles are witnesses to a very 
widespread and unobjectionable literary habit. ^ 

6. What is the use to us of this distinction 
between letter and epistle, to which we have been 
led by the ancient letters on lead, papyrus, and 
earthenware ? 

The New Testament contains a considerable number 
of texts, larger or smaller, calling themselves "Letters" 
— " Letters " of Paul, of James, of Peter, etc. Fresh 
from our consideration of the ancient letters and 
epistles, we are at once alive to the problem: Are 

' Of. Bibelitudien, p. 199 ff. ; Mble Studies, p. 12 fi. 


the "Letters" of the New Testament (and further, 
of early Christianity in general) non-Uterary letters 
or literary epistles ? The fact that all these "letters" 
have been handed down by literary tradition and 
were first seen by aU of us collected in a book, might 
long deceive us as to the existence of the problem. 
Most scholars regard all these texts unhesitatingly 
as works of literature. But now that the new 
discoveries of letters have shown the necessity of 
differentiation, and have given us a standard for 
judging whether an ancient text is letter-like in 
character, the problem can no longer be kept in the 
background. And I think the study of these ancient, 
letters, newly discovered, obliges us to maintain that 
in the New Testament there are both non-literary- 
letters and literary epistles. 

The letters of Paul are not literary ; they are real 
letters, not epistles ; they were written by Paul not 
for the public and posterity, but for the persons to 
whom they are addressed. Almost all the mistakes 
that have ever been made in the study of St. Paul's 
life and work have arisen from neglect of the fact 
that his writings are non-literary and letter-like in 
character. His letter to the Romans, which for 
special inherent reasons is the least like a letter,, 
has determined the criticism of all his other letters. 
But we must not begin our discussion of the question 
how far Paul's letters are true letters by examining 
the one to the E,omans. We must begin with the 
other letters, whose nature is obvious at first sight. 
The more we have trained ourselves, by reading 
other ancient letters, to appreciate the true char- 
acteristics of a letter, the more readily shall we 
perceive the relationship of Paul's letters to the other 
non-literary texts of the period. 



Paul's letter to Philemon is no doubt the one 
most clearly seen to be a letter. Only the colour- 
blindness of pedantry could possibly regard this 
delightful little letter as a treatise " On the attitude 
of Christianity to slavery." In its intercession for 
a runaway it is exactly parallel to the letter, quoted 
above, from the Papas of Hermupolis to the officer 
Abinnaeus. Read and interpreted as a letter this 
unobtrusive relic from the age of the first witnesses 
is one of the most valuable self-revelations that 
the great apostle has left us : brotherly feeling, quiet 
beauty, tact as of a man of the world — all these are 
discoverable in the letter.^ 

If, as seems to me probable for substantial reasons, 
the 16th chapter of Romans was specially written 
by Paul to be sent to Ephesus, we have in it a text 
about which there can be no doubt that it is letter- 
like in character. It is easy to produce parallels 
from the papyrus letters, especially for the one most 
striking peculiarity of this letter, viz. the apparently 
monotonous cumulation of greetings. There is, 
for instance, Tasucharion's letter to her brother 
Nilus^ (Fayum, second century a.d.) and the letter 
of Ammonius to his sister Tachnumi' (Egypt, Imperial 
period). Their resemblance to Romans xvi. is most 
striking; Paul, however, enlivens the monotony of 
the long list of greetings by finely discriminative 
personal touches. So too there is no lack of analogies 
for a letter of recommendation plunging at once 
in medias res and beginning with " I commend." * 

' Of. Wilhelm Baur, Der Umgang des Christen mit den Mensohen, Neue 
Ohristoterpe, Bremen und Leipzig, 1895, p. 151. 

" Berliner Griechisohe Urkunden, No. 601. 

» Pariser Papyrus, No. 18 (Notices et extraits des manusorits de la biblio- 
th^que imp., t. XVUI. 2, p. 232 f .) ; Bibelstudien, p. 215 f. ; not in' Bible Studies. 

* The letters in EpistolograpU Graed, rec. Heroher, p. 259 (Dion to Kufus) 
and p. 699 (Synesius to Pylaemenes) begin, like Kom. xvi., with ffvylarriiu. 


In opposition to the Ephesian hypothesis it is 
usual to ask, How came this little letter to Ephesus 
to be united with the long letter to Rome as handed 
down to us ? This question also can be answered 
with some probabiUty by reference to ancient customs 
of letter- writing. We knew already that letter-books 
were in use in antiquity, containing either copies 
of the letters sent ^ or collections of letters received.^ 
We now possess three interesting papyrus fragments 
of letter copy-books : one of the Ptolemaic period, 
now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, with copies 
of letters from an official ^ ; one of the year 104 a.d., 
also with official documents (two letters and one 
rescript), now in the British Museum*; and one 
from Hermupolis Magna, of the beginning of the 
second century a.d., now in the Heidelberg Uni- 
versity Library,^ with copies of three letters from 
one HeUodorus * to Eutychides, Anubas, and Phibas, 
each of whom he calls "brother." These three letters 
are written in three parallel columns in the same hand ; 
the upper margin contains in each case the praescript, 
" HeUodorus to N. N., his brother, greeting." 

Now we know that St. Paul did not write his 
letters himself, but dictated them.'^ The handwriting 

' Lihri Utterarwn mitsarum. References in Wiloken, ArchiT fiir Papyrus- 
forschnng, 1, p. 372 ; and in Otto Seeok, Die Briefe des Mbanim xHtlieh 
Seorimet, Texte und TJntersuohungen zur GesoMohte der altchristliohen 
Literatur, New Series, 15, 1, Leipzig, 1906, p. 19 fE. 

^ JMn litterarvm adlatarvm. Eeferences in Wilcken, Arohiv 1, p. 372 
Of special Interest is a papyrus roU at Vienna, consisting entirely of different 
letters to the same addressee stuck together. 

' Edited by John P. MahafEy, cf. Wilcken, Aichiv, 1, p. 168. 

* Greek Pwpyri, Vol. III. No. 904, p. 124 ff., with facsimile (Plate 80). A 
portion of this fragment (the rescript) is given below. Fig. 42, facing p. 268. 

' Provisional number 22 ; not yet published. 

« Letters from other members of this man's family are preserved in the 
Amherst Papyri, nos. 131-135. Heliodorus himself is mentioned there more 
than coDce. There are other letters of his at Heidelberg. 

' Cf. above pp. 153, 158 f., 161. 


of the originals and of the letter copy-books, if such 
existed, will therefore have varied with the amanu- 
ensis. The little letter to Ephesus was written by 
a certain Tertius,^ and the letter to Rome, being of 
the same date, would no doubt be written by the 
same Tertius and stand in his handwriting next to 
the Ephesian letter in the copy-book. In making 
a transcript from the copy-book it was the easier 
for the two letters in the same hand to run into 
one another because in the copy-book the praescripts 
were generally abbreviated.^ And how easUy might 
the upper margin, containing the. praescript, break 
off! And when once the praescript was gone, the 
two letters would fall into one.^ 

The two " Epistles to the Corinthians " that have 
come down to us also belong to the group of real 
letters. What is it that makes the second Epistle 
so extremely unintelligible to many people ? Simply 
the fact that it is out-and-out a letter, full of allu- 
sions which we for the most part no longer folly 
understand. St. Paul wrote this letter with the 
fuU strength of his personality, putting into it all 
the Varied emotions that succeeded and encountered 
one another in his impulsive soul — deep contrition 
and thankfulness towards God, the reformer's wrath, 
irony and trenchant candour towards the vicious. 
The first "Epistle to the Corinthians" is calmer in 
tone because the situation of the letter is different, 

' Bom. xvi. 22. 

^ Wilcken, Arohiv, 1, p. 168. 

' There is perhaps a case of this kind in the nnpublished Heidelberg 
papyrus No. 87. This also belongs to the correspondence of Heliodoras and 
contains a letter from him to his father Sarapion in one wide column. To the 
light are visible remains of a second column ; the right-hand margin has been 
torn away. Was there a second praescript at the top of the second column ? 
If so, the papyrus must be part of a second letter copy-book belonging to 
Heliodorns. Cf. also p. 192, note 2 above. 


but this also is no pamphlet addressed to the Christian 
public, but a real letter to Corinth, in part an answer 
to a letter from the church there. 

The two " Epistles to the Thessalonians " are also 
genuine letters, the first even more so than the 
second. They represent, so to say, the average type 
of one of Paul's letters ; by which I mean that they 
are written with comparative composure of mind, 

The " Epistle to the Galatians," on the other hand, 
is the offspring of passion, a fiery utterance of chastise-, 
ment and defence, not at all a treatise " De lege et 

The " letters of the captivity," of which we have 
already mentioned that to Philemon, will perhaps gain 
most in meaning when treated seriously as letters. 
We shall come more and more, as we weigh the 
epistolary possibilities and probabilities of actual 
letter-writing, to shift the problem of their date 
and origin from the profitless groove into which 
the alternative " Rome or Caesarea " must lead ; 
we shall try to solve it by the assumption that at 
least Colossians, Philemon, and the " Epistle to the 
Ephesians " (Laodiceans) were written during an 
imprisonment at Ephesus.^ The contrast both in 
subject and style which has been observed between 
Colossians and Ephesians on the one hand and the 
rest of the Pauline Epistles on the other is Ukewise 
explained by the situation of those letters. Paul is 
writing to churches that were not yet known to him 
personally, and what seems epistle-like in the two 
letters ought really to be described as their reserved, 

' The careful reader of St. Paul's letters will easily find evidences of an 
imprisonment at Bphesus. — I may remark, in answer to a reviewer of tlie first 
edition, that I do not owe this hypothesis to H. Lisco's book, Vmmla 
Sanctorum, Berlin, 1900. I introduced it when lecturing at the Theological 
Seminary at Herbom in 1897. 


impersonal tone. The greatest stone of offence has 
always been the relationship between the contents 
of the two texts. Now I for my part see no reason 
why Paul should not repeat in one " epistle " what he 
had already said in another ; but all astonishment 
ceases when we observe that we have here a mission- 
ary sending letters simultaneously to two diiFerent 
churches that he is anxious to win. The situation 
is the same in both cases, and he treats practically 
the same questions in like manner in each letter. 
The difference, however, is after all so great that he 
asks the two churches to exchange their letters.^ The 
most remarkable thing to me is the peculiar liturgical 
fervour of the two letters, but this is the resonance 
of notes that are occasionally struck in other PauUne 
epistles and which are not without analogies in con- 
temporary non-Christian texts of solemn import. 

The "Epistle to the Philippians," most gracious 
of all St. Paul's writings to the churches, is obviously 
letter-like. The question of where it was written 
stands in great need of re-examination, for statistics 
carefully compiled from inscriptions and papyri would 
show that " praetorium " ^ and " Caesar's household," ' 
which have hitherto always been taken to indicate 
Rome, are not necessarily distinctive of the capital. 

The Ephesian theory of St. Paul's prison writings 
(or some of them), suggested by a consideration of 
the probabilities of actual letter-writing, opens up 
new possibilities of accounting for the pastoral epistles, 
or at least some of them. The chief problem lies 

' Col. iv. 16. 

' PhiL i. 13. A beginning of such statistics was made by Theodor Mommsen, 
Hermes, 35 (1900) pp. 437-442. 

' Phil. iv. 22. This does not refer to the palace (there were imperial 
palaces elsewhere than in Eome), but to the body of imperial slaves, scattered 
all over the world. We have evidence of imperial slaves even at Bphesns. 


not in their language or the teaching contained in 
them, but in the circumstances under which the 
letters were written, the journeys that must be pre- 
supposed, and other external events in the Uves of 
the apostle and his companions. 

In the case of " Romans " one might at first be in 
doubt whether it were a letter or an epistle. At 
any rate its letter-like character is not so obvious 
as that of 2 Corinthians. Yet it is not an epistle 
addressed to all the world or even to Christendom, 
containing, let us say, a compendium of St. Paul's 
dogmatic and ethical teaching. Its mere length 
must not be held an argument against its letter-like 
character^: there are long letters,^ as well as short 
epistles. " Romans " is a long letter. St. Paul 
wishes to pave the way for his visit to the Roman 
Christians ; that is the object of his letter. The 
missionary from Asia does not yet know the Western 
Church, and is known to it only by hearsay. The 
letter therefore cannot be so full of personal details 
as those which the apostle wrote to churches long 
familiar to him. " Romans " may strike many at 
first as being more of an epistle than a letter, but 
on closer examination this explains itself from the 
circumstances of wiiting. Here also, therefore, if 
we would understand its true significance, we must 
banish aU thought of things literary.' Not even the 

' Of. BibeUtudien, p. 237 ; Sible Studies, p. 45. 

' E.g. the petition of the Dionysia to the Praefect, Oxyrhynchus Papyri, 
No. 237 (186 A.D.) is not much shorter than the Epistle to the Komans. This 
gigantic letter, between two and three yards long, gives one a good idea of the 
probable outward appearance of St. Paul's " long " letters — great roUs made of 
single-column sheets stuck together. 

' Wilhelm Bousset(Theologisohe literaturzeitung, 22, 1897, col. 858) says 
admirably: "Paul's Epistles — even that to the Bomans — must be read as 
outpourings from the heart of an impulsive prophet-like personality, and not 
as dialectic didactic writings." Similarly Adolf Jlilicher in the OegekwarU- 
iibel (Die fichriften des neuen Testaments nen iibersetzt und fiir die Gegenwart 


oldest codices of the New Testament, to say nothing 
of printed editions, give a perfectly correct idea of the 
spirit of this text. What was originally non-literary 
has there by subsequent development become literary. 
Early in the fourth century a Christian at Oxy- 
rhynchus — his name was probably Aurelius Paulus 
— copied the beginning of Romans for some private 
purpose, very likely for use as an amulet, on a 
sheet of papyrus that is now in the Semitic Museum 
of Harvard University (Fig. 37).^ The coarse, rustic, 
non-literary uncials in which he wrote, or got some- 
body to write, are more in keeping with St. Paul's 
letter than the book-hand of episcopally trained 
scribes. Those powerful lines assume once more 
the simple garb they probably wore in the auto- 
graph of Tertius written from Paul's dictation at 

Taking one thing with another I have no hesitation 
in maintaining the thesis that aU the letters of 
Paul are real, non-literary letters.^ St. Paul was 
not a writer of epistles but of letters ; he was not a 
literary man. His letters were raised to the dignity 
of literature afterwards, when the piety of the 
churches collected them, multiplied them by copying 
and so made them accessible to the whole of 

erklart, herausgegeben von Johannes Weiss, II. 2, Giittingen, 1905, p. 2) : 
"The Epistle to the Komans remains a letter not only in form but in 
essence. . . ." 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, No. 209. The facsimile (Fig. 37) is reproduced 
by kind permission of the Egypt Exploration Fund. Cf. my discussion of the 
papyrus in the Theologisohe Literaturzeitung, 26 (1901) col. 71 f. After 
a long study of early Christian amulets, I now prefer the theory that the 
papyrus served as an amulet for the Aurelius Paulus who is named in 
a cursive hand beneath the text from Bomans, The folds also favour this 

' Cf. the fine observations of TJlrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Die 
grieohische Literatur des Altertums, Die KvXtwr der Gegenwart, Teil I. 
Abteilung 8, 2 Auflage, Berlin und Leipzig, 1907, p. 159 f., and of Johannes 
Weiss in the GegenwartsMbel, II. 1, pp. 1 ff. 


Christendom. Later still they became sacred litera- 
ture, when they were received among the books of 
the " New " Testament then in process of formation ; 
and in this position their literary influence has been 
immeasurable. But all these subsequent experiences 
cannot change the original character of Paul's letters. 
Paul, whose yearning and ardent hope expected the 
Lord, and with Him the Judgment and the world 
to come — Paul, who reckoned the future of "this" 
world not by centuries and millenniums but by years, 
had no presentiment of the providence that watched 
over the fate of his letters in the world's histoiy. 
He wrote with absolute abandon, more so than 
Augustine in his Confessions, more than the other 
great teachers^ in their letters, which not in%;quently 
are calculated for publication as well as for the 
immediate recipient. 

This abandon constitutes the chief value of the 
letters of St. Paul. Their non-literary characteristics 
as letters are a guarantee of their reliability, their 
positively documentary value for the history of the 
apostolic period of our religion, particularly the history 
of St. Paul himself and his great mission. His letters 
are the remains (unfortunately but scanty) of the 
records of that mission. The task of exegesis becomes 
spontaneously one of psychological reproduction when 
once the ebb and flow of the writer's temporary moods 
is duly recognised. The single confessions in the 
letters of a nature so impulsive as St. Paul's were 
dashed down under the influence of a hundred 

' Again and again in conversation I have been reminded of the epistle-like 
character of so many " letters " of the Fathers, and a similar character has 
been claimed for the letters of Paul, But it is quite mistaken to attempt to 
judge Paul's letters by the standard of later degenerations from the type. 
Paul wrote under circumstances that could not be repeated, circumstances 
that preclude all possibility of playing with publicity or with posterity ; he 
wrote in expectation of the end of the world. 


various impressions, and were never calculated for 
systematic presentment. The strange attempt to 
paste them together mechanically, in the belief that 
thus Paulinism might be reconstructed, wiU have to 
be given up. Thus Paulinism will become more 
enigmatical, but Paul himself will be seen more 
clearly ; a non-literary man of the non-literary class 
in the Imperial age, but prophet-like rising above his 
class and surveying the contemporary educated world 
with the consciousness of superior strength. All the 
traces of systematisation that are found here and there 
in him are proofs of the limitation of his genius ; the 
secret of his greatness lies in religion apart from system. 
There are two more real letters in the New Testa- 
ment, viz. 2 and 3 John. Of the third Epistle I 
would say with Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff *; 
" It was entirely a private note . . . ; it must have 
been preserved among the papers of Gaius as a rehc 
of the great presbyter." ^ The second Epistle of 
St. John is not so fiiU of letter-like detail as the third, 
but it too has a quite definite purpose as a letter, 
although we cannot say with complete certainty who 
the lady was to whom it was addressed. That it was 
addressed to the whole church seems to me quite 
impossible. The two letters are of especial interest 
because they clearly betray in several instances the 
epistolary style of their age, and it is to be hoped 
that, with the aid of the papyri, we shall some day 
be able to determine the date of that style more 

7. With the same certainty with which we describe 
the Pauline and two Johannine epistles as real non- 

' Lesefruohte, Hermes, 33 (1898) p. 529 fi. This essay is especially 
instructive on points of style. 
2 Page 531. 


literary letters, we recognise in other New Testament 
texts literary epistles, most clearly in the Epistles of 
James, Peter, and Jude,^ which have from ancient 
times been known as " catholic " or " general." ^ A 
glance at the " addressees " shows that these are not 
real letters. Impossible demands are made of the 
" bearer " if we are to imagine one. A " letter," for 
instance, superscribed " to the twelve tribes which 
are scattered abroad " would be simply undeliverable. 
James, in whose praescript we find this "address," 
writes as does the author of the Epistle of Baruch 
" to the nine-and-a-half tribes that are in captivity." 
In these cases we have to do not with definite 
addressees but with a great " catholic " circle of 
readers. The authors did not despatch a single copy 
of their "letter," as St. Paul did of " Philippians," for 
example: they published a number of copies of a 

The Epistle of James is firoin the beginning a little 
work of Uterat^e, a pamphlet addressed to the whole 
of Christendom, a veritable epistle. The whole of 
its contents agrees therewith. There is none of the 
unique detail peculiar to the situation, such as we 
have in the letters of St. Paul, but simply general 
questions, most of them still conceivable under the 
present conditions of our church life. But the Epistle 
of James is nevertheless a product of popular litera- 
ture. The Epistles of Peter and of Jude have also 
quite unreal addresses; the letter-like touches are 
purely decorative. Here we have the beguinings of 
a Christian literature ; the Epistles of Jude and Peter, 
though still possessing as a whole many popular 

' Cf. the excellent remarks of Georg Hollmann and Hermann Gunkel in the 
Oegenwartsbihel, 11. 3, pp. 1 and 25. 

=* This old designation includes by implication the essential part of our 


features, already endeavour here and there after a 
certain degree of artistic expression. 

The question of the " authenticity " of all these 
epistles is, from our point of view, not nearly so 
important as it would certainly be if they were real 
letters. The personality of the authors recedes 
almost entirely into the background. A great cause 
is speaking to us, not a clearly definable personality, 
such as we see in the letters of St. Paul, and it is of 
little importance to the understanding of the text 
whether we know the names of the writers with 
certainty or not. From our knowledge of the 
literary habits of antiquity, as well as on general 
historical grounds, we are bound to regard the catholic 
epistles first and foremost as epistles issued under 
a protecting name, and may therefore call them, in 
the good sense of the word, heteronymous. 

It is very noteworthy in this connexion that the 
longest " epistle " in the New Testament, the so-called 
Epistle to the Hebrews, is altogether anonymous, as 
it has come down to us. Even the " address " has 
vanished. Were it not for some details in xiii. 22-24 
that sound letter-like, one would never suppose that 
the work was meant to be an epistle, not to mention 
a letter. It might equally well be an oration or a 
diatribe ; it calls itself a " word of exhortation " 
(xiii. 22). It is clear from this example how in epistles 
aU that seems letter-Uke is mere ornament ; if any of 
the ornament crumbles off the character of the wholq 
thing is not essentially altered. Failure to recognise 
the literary character of the Epistle to the Hebrews 
has led to a large number of superfluous hypotheses 
about the " addressees," etc.,^ and the fact has been 

' Of. Wilhelm Wrede, "Das literarisohe Eatsel des Hebraerbriefs. Mit 
«ineiu Anhang iiber den literarisohen Charakter des Bamabasbiiefs" (Part 8 


overlooked that the Epistle gains immensely in im- 
portance if reaUy considered as literature : it is 
historically the earliest example of Christian artistic 
literature. What had been shyly attempted in some 
other epistles has here been more fuUy carried out. 
Alike in form and contents this epistle strives to rise 
from the stratum in which Christianity had its origin 
towards the higher level of learning and culture. 

The so-called "First Epistle of St. John" has 
none of the specific characters of an epistle, and 
is, of course, even less like a letter. The little work 
has got along with the epistles, but it is best 
described as a religious diatribe, in which Christian 
meditations are loosely strung together for the 
benefit of the community of the faithftil. 

The " Apocalypse of John," however, is strictly 
speaking an epistle : it has in i. 4 an epistolary 
praescript with a religious wish, and in xxii. 21 a 
conclusion suitable for an epistle. The epistle is 
again subdivided at the beginning into seven small 
portions addressed to the churches of Asia — Ephesus,^ 
Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, 
Laodicea. These again are not real letters, sent 
separately to the respective churches and afterwards 
collected together. All seven of them, rather, have been 
written with an eye to the whole, and are to be read 
and taken to heart by all the churches, not only by 
the one named in the address. They represent, how- 
ever, in my opinion, a more letter-like species of 
epistle than those we have been considering hitherto. 
The writer wishes to achieve certain ends with the 
single churches, but at the same time to influence 

of the " Forschnngen,'' edited by W. Bonsset and H. Gnnkel), Giittingen, 1906 
Wrede agrees with my view. As he very well puts it (p. 73), " The maia 
point in the end is to recognise the whole epistle as a literary work." 


the whole body of Christians, or at any rate Asiatic 
Christians. In spite, therefore, of their familiar form 
his missives have a public and literary purpose, and 
hence they are more correctly ranged with the early 
Christian epistles than with the letters. They belong 
moreover to a large species of religious epistolography, 
which still plays an important part in the popular 
reUgion of the present day,^ viz. the " letters from 
heaven." ^ 

8, Having clearly worked out the difference 
between the non-literary letter and the literary 
epistle, we are now able to attempt a sketch of the 
literary development of Primitive Christianity. If 
in doing so we speak of times or periods, we do not 
mean to imply that sharp chronological divisions are 

Christianity, then, does not begin as a literary 
movement. Its creative period is non-literary. 

Jesus of Nazareth is altogether unliterary. He 
never wrote ^ or dictated a hne. He depended 
entirely on the living word, full of a great confidence 
that the scattered seed would spring up. Always 
speaking face to face with His friends, never separated 
from them by the ocean. He had no need to write 
letters. In His remote country home He wanders from 
village to village and from one little town to another, 
preaching in a boat or in synagogues or on a sunlit 

' In May 1906 I bought at Athens for 5 lepta a reprint of a- "letter of 
Christ " that was being sold in the streets together with lives of saints : 
'MtuttoMi rod Kvplov iuuiv 'Iij(roS XpiiTToO e6pe6ei(ra ijrl rod t&<I)OV t^s BeariKOv, 
"Letter of our Lord Jesus Christ, found on the grave of the Mother 
of God." 

^ Of. on this subject Albreoht Dieterich, Blatter fiir hessisohe Tolkskunde, 
3 (1901) No. 3, and Hessisohe Blatter fUr Volkskunde, 1 (1902) p. 19 fE. 
V. G. Kirchner, Wider die SimmeUhriefe, Leipzig-Gohlis, 1908, wages war of 
extermination against these " letters from heaven." 

' [The writing in John viii. 6, 8 was not literary. Te.] 


Mil, but never do we find Him in the shade of the 
writing-room. Excelling them of old time in 
reverence as in all things else, He would not have 
ventured to take the prophet's pen and add new 
•" Scriptures " to the old, for the new thing for which 
He looked came not in book, formulae, and subtle 
doctrine, but in spirit and in fire. 

Side by side with Jesus there stands, equally non- 
Jiterary, His apostle. Even from the hand of St. 
Paul we should possess not a line, probably, if he 
had remained, Hke his Master, in retirement. But 
the spirit drove the cosmopohte back into the 
diaspora. The great world-centres on the roads and 
on the coasts become homes of the gospel, and if 
the artisan-missionary at Ephesus wishes to talk to 
the foolish Galatians or the poor brethren at Corinth, 
then in the midst of the hurry and worry of pressing 
•daily duties he dictates a letter, adding at the end 
a few hnes roughly written with his own hard and 
vireary weaver's hand. These were no books or 
pamphlets for the world or even for Christendom ; 
they were confidential pronouncements, of whose 
existence and contents the missionary's nearest 
companions often knew nothing: Luke even writes 
his Acts of the Apostles without knowledge of the 
letters of St. Paul (which were written but not yet 
published). But the lack of all publicist intention, 
the complete absence of Uterary pose, the contempt 
of the styUst's sounding phrase, — this it was that 
predestined St. Paul's unbookish Unes, so unassuming 
and yet written with such powerful originality, to 
literary fortunes of truly world-wide import to 
history. They were to become a centre of energy 
for the future, influencing leading men and books 
and civilisations down to the present day. 


Such sayings of the non-literary Jesus as have been 
reported to us by others, and such non-literary letters 
as remain to us of St. Paul's, show us that Christianity 
in its earliest creative period was most closely bound 
up with the lower classes ^ and had as yet no effective 
connexion with the small upper class possessed of 
power and culture. Jesus is more in company with 
the small peasants and townsmen of a rural civilisa- 
tion — the people of the great city have rejected Him ; 
St. Paul goes rather with the citizens and artisans 
of the great international cities ^ ; but both Jesus 
and St. Paul are full of magnificent irony and lofty 
contempt where the upper classes are concerned. 
But the conventional language of rural civilisations 
is always the simpler, and therefore the popular 
standard and popular elements are seen much more 
clearly in Jesus than in St. Paul. Paul's letters, 
however, are also popular in tone. This is most 
conspicuous in his vocabulary, but even the subject- 
matter is adapted to the problems, difficulties, and 
weaknesses of humble individuals. Only, of course, 
a man of St. Paul's greatness has knowledge beyond 
the thousand-word vocabulary of (say) a mere loafer 
at the docks, leading a vegetable existence, and with 
no religion except a belief in daemons. St. Paul has 
a poet's mastery of language, he experiences with 
unabated force in the depths of his prophet-soul the 
subtlest, tenderest emotions known in the sphere of 

' One of the worst blunders ever made by criticism was to explain the 
particularly clear tokens of this connexion as later Ebionite interpolations. 
But even if we surrendered to these critics all that Jesus says about 
mammon, we shall still, for linguistic and other reasons, be bound to maintain 
our thesis. 

^ The whole history of Primitive Christianity and the growth of the New 
Testament might be sketched from this point of view. [Cf. the author's 
article in The Expositor, February to April 1909, " Primitive Christianity and 
the Lower Classes." Tb.] 


religion and morals, and he reveals his experience in 
the personal confessions contained in his letters. 

The creative, non-literary period is followed by 
the conservative, literary period, but this receives its 
immediate stamp from the motive forces of the 
former epoch. The earliest Christian literature is 
of a popular kind, not artistic literature^ for the 
cultured.^ It either creates a simple form for itself 
(the gospel), or it employs the most artless forms 
assumed by 'Jewish or pagan prose (the chronicle, 
apocalypse, epistle, diatribe). The popular features 
exhibited are of two kinds, corresponding to the 
characteristic difference that struck us when com- 
paring Jesus and St. Paul : we have on the one hand 
the influence of the country and provincial towns, 
on the other hand that of the great towns pre- 

The synoptic gospels, themselves based on earlier 
little books, exhibit the local colour of the Gahlean 
and Palestinian countryside ; the great city, in which 
the catastrophe occurs, stands in frightfiil contrast 
to all the rest. The Epistle of St. Ja^nes will be 
best understood in the open air beside the piled 
sheaves of a harvest field ; it is the first powerful 
echo of the still recent synoptic gospel-books. 

St. Luke dedicates his books to a man of polish, 
but this does not make them polite literature. Here 
and there the language of his gospel, and more 

' At the present day it is possible for literature to be both {wpnlar, in the 
above sense, and artistic, viz. vrhen it imitates conscionsly the forms which 
have grown up naturally in popnlar books. 

^ Cf . Georg Heinrici in " Xheologische Abhandlnngen Carl von Weizsacker 
. . . gewidmet," Freiburg i. B., 1892, p. 329 : " The New Testament writings 
are distinguished by a far-reaching neglect of the laws that were recognised 
throughout the classical world as governing artistic representation." 

• I hope nobody will suppose that I intend to hint at any difference of value 
between these two classes. 



especially the style and subject-matter of his book 
of apostolic history, mark the transition to the popular 
books in which the cosmopolite tone prevails. To 
this latter class belong, so it seems to me, the Epistle 
of Jude, the Epistles of Peter, and the book of the 
seven cities (Revelation of St. John). This last is 
particularly popular in character, written with the 
passionate earnestness of a prophet who speaks the 
popular language of his time, and is famihar with 
the images created by the popular imagination of the 

The Gospel of St. John, in spite of the Logos in 
the opening Unes,^ is altogether popular, and so is 
the diatribe which goes under the name of the First 
Epistle of St. John. These Johannine texts are still 
most decidedly popular works, but they are neither 
decidedly rural nor decidedly urban ; rural and urban, 
synoptic and Pauline are united together into what 
I should call intercultural Christian characteristics. 

After this the production of popular Christian 
literature never ceased. It runs through the 
centuries. Often it went on as it were subter- 
raneously, in holes and corners, in secret conventicles 
— ^from the earliest known texts of vulgar Latin, the 
Muratorian Canon, and the swarm of late gospels, 
" acts," and " revelations " which are branded as 
apocryphal, to the books of martyrdoms, legends 

' A sharp eye trained by the study of Diirer and Bembrandt sees clearly the 
marked popular character of this picture-book. This was shown me by a 
remark in a letter from Prof. Carl Neumann, of Kiel, dated Grbttingen, 6 March, 
1905 : " In one of my Gbttingen semesters I studied the Apocalypse with 

Albrecht Diirer and then read ^"s commentary. Putting aside the thousand 

and one pros and cons and questions about sources, and looking at the effect 
of the whole, as the commentator is no longer nal've enough to do, I must say 
I have never come across a work of such coloristio power in the contrasts, I 
might even say of such tremendous instrumentation. There is something 
of barbaric unrestraint about it all." 

2 Cf. p. 63 above. 


of saints, and pilgrimages, — from the printed postils, 
consolatories, and tractates down to the vast modern 
polyglot of missionary and edifying literature. Even 
to-day the greatest part of this popular literature 
perishes after serving its purpose. The dullest 
book of professional hypothesis in theology, which 
nobody ever will read, finds a place in our libraries, 
but books of prayer that served whole generations for 
edification become Uterary rarities after a hundred 
years. Thus of the whole vast mass of Christian 
popular literature of all times only a scanty remnant 
has come down to us, and even this is almost stifled 
by the volume of learned theological Uterature, which 
has pushed itself, bulky and noisy, into the fore- 

If we trace this technical literature of theology 
back to its beginnings we come to the Epistle 
to the Hebrews, a work which seems to hang in 
the background like an intruder among the New 
Testament company of popular books. It marks 
an epoch in the hterary development of Christianity 
inasmuch as it is the first tolerably clear example 
of a literature which stUl, like the older popular 
writings, appealed only to Christians and not to 
the whole world, but was consciously dictated by 
theological interests, and dominated (quite unlike 
the letters of Paul) by theological methods and the 
endeavour to attain beauty of form. Christianity 
has moved from its native stratum and is seeking to 
acquire culture. 

It was but a step from this artistic literature for 
Christians to artistic literature for the world, such 
as the apologists of the second century produced. 
The subsequent lines of this development are well 


But before Christian literature ventured on this 
great step into the world, the pristine inheritance 
was separated off from the books of the after-genera- 
tion by the insurmountable barrier of a new canon. 
The formation of the New Testament is the most 
important event in the literary history of mankind : 
wherein lay its significance, merely as regards 
literature ? It meant, in the first place, the preser- 
vation of the relics of the past age. Secondly, that 
the non-literary part of these relics was raised to 
the rank of literature, and the impulse given to unite 
all the parts gradually into a single book. Finally, 
that texts older than " the church " were elevated 
to standards for the church, and popular texts 
became a book for the world. ^ The fact that 
scarcely any but popular and primitive Christian 
writings found their way into the nascent New Testa- 
ment is a brilliant proof of the unerring tact of the 
Church that formed the Canon. 

9. We have reached the end of a chapter, and 
if any one should object that its results could all 
have been obtained without the aid of the in- 
scriptions, papyri, and ostraca, it is not for me to 
enter an indignant denial. Speaking for myself, 
however, I am bound to say that I had never grasped 
those main lines of the literary development of 
Christianity until I took up the study of the class 
of document we have been considering. Then 
it was that the great difference between literary 
and non-literary writing impressed itself on me, and 
I learnt from the papyrus letters to appreciate the 
characteristics of the non-literary letter. 

' Just as, philologioally, it meant that the vulgar language was elevated to 
the realm of things literary. 


From that time onward the literary history of 
Primitive Christianity stood out before me in all its 

It began without any written book at all. There 
was only the living word, — the gospel, but no gospels. 
Instead of the letter there was the spirit. The 
beginning, in fact, was Jesus Himself. This age 
of the spirit had not passed away before the apostle 
Paul was at work. He wrote his letters not to 
gain the ear of literary men, but to keep up con- 
fidential intercourse with those dear to him. 

Next there sprang up among the Christian brother- 
hoods popular books with no pretensions to literary 
art. Yet these were the beginnings of Christian 
literature, and the authors — evangelists, prophets, 
apostles — being themselves men of the people, spoke 
and wrote the people's language. 

The Epistle to the Hebrews shows us Christianity 
preparing for a flight from its native levels into the 
higher region of culture, and we are conscious of 
the beginnings of a Christian world-literature. First, 
however, the new religion, reviewing its own initial 
stages, begins to collect the relics of that early period 
as a standard for the future. 

The development of the literature is a reflex of 
the whole early history of Christianity. We watch 
the stages of growth from, brotherhoods to church, 
from the unlearned to theologians, from the lower 
and middle classes to the upper world. It is one 
long process of cooling and hardening. If we still 
persist in falling back upon the New Testament 
after aU these centuries, we do so in order to make 
the hardened metal fluid once more. The New 
Testament was edited and handed down by the 
Church, but there is none of the rigidity of the 


law about it, because the texts composing it are 
documents of a period antecedent to the Church, 
when our religion was still sustained by inspiration. 
The New Testament is a book, but not of your dry 
kind, for the texts composing it are still to-day, 
despite the tortures to which literary criticism has 
subjected them, living confessions of Christian 
inwardness. And if, owing to its Greek idiom, 
the New Testament cannot dispense with learned 
interpreters, it is by no means an exclusive book 
for the few. The texts composing it come jfrom 
the souls of saints sprung from the people, and 
therefore the New Testament is the Bible for the 



1. In the days before the ancient inscriptions had 
sunk beneath the soil, when men still wrote on papyrus 
and potsherd, and the coins of the Roman Caesars 
were in daily circulation, Jesus of Galilee called for 
a silver denarius of Rome when He was disputing 
with His adversaries, and said, referring to the image 
and superscription on the coin, " Render unto Caesar 
the things that are Caesar's ; and unto God the things 
that are God's." ^ It was an age in which the Caesar 
was honoured as a god ; Jesus showed no disrespect 
towards Caesar, but by distinguishing so sharply 
between Caesar and God He made a tacit protest 
against the worship of the emperor. That pregnant 
sentence does not present us with two equal magni- 
tudes, Caesar and God : the second is clearly the 
superior of the first; the sense is, "Render unto 
Caesar the things that are Caesar's ; and, a fortioriy 
unto God the things that are God's." ^ The portrait 
and legend were an ocular demonstration of the right 
of the sovereign who coined the money to demand 

' Matt. xxii. 21, with the paiallel passages. 

" Cf . the remarks on the worship of the emperors, in § 9 below, p. 342 ff. 
This explanation of the passage is exactly how the Christian woman Donata, 
imdeistands it, in the Acts of the Scilitanian Martyrs : Jumorem Caegari guasi 
Caesari ; tvmorem aittem Deo, " honour to Caesar as Caesar, but fear to God I " 
(Amgewdhlte Martyreraotm, herausg. von B. Knopf, Tubingen, 1901, p. 35). 



tribute from the provincials. The claims of God 
were in no sense affected, for they are high as the 
heavens above this world's claims. Thus Jesus made 
use of the portrait and legend on a Roman coin to 
give a concrete, tangible answer to a question of the 
day involving religion and politics. 

Some time later, on the eve of His martjT:dom, in 
the trusted circle of His immediate disciples, Jesus 
referred to a secular custom, examples of which are 
derivable from literature ^ and most abundantly from 
inscriptions and coins of Greek-speaking lands — the 
custom of distinguishing princes and other eminent 
men with the honourable title of Euergetes, " bene- 
factor." ^ It would not be difficult to collect from 
inscriptions, with very little loss of time, over a 
hundred instances, so widespread was the custom. 
I give here one example only, of the same period 
as the evangelists. Gaius Stertinius Xenophon, 
body-physician to the Emperor Claudius, whom he 
afterwards poisoned, was contemporary with Jesus, 
and received from the people of Cos, probably about 
A.D. 53, in gratitude for his valuable services to his 
native island, the title of " Benefactor." The title 
precedes his name, for instance, in a fragmentary 
inscription from Cos* (Figure 38), which was probably 
connected with some honour conferred on his wife : * 

of the benefactor 

G. Stertinius Xenophon, . . . 
consecrated to the city. 

Tw 6ue/37eT[a T. 5t6/3-j 
Tivlov Hej'0(^ft)i'r[os] 
avLep<i)deiaav T\aC\ 

> Cf . for instance the Old Testament Apocrypha. ^ Luke xxii. 25 f. 

•» Discovered and published by Eudolf Herzog, Emche Forsehimgm md 
.Fwnie, Leipzig, 1899, p. 653., Nos. 24, 25. The greatly reduced facsimUe 
(Plate IV. 2, 3) is here reproduced (Fig. 38) by the kind permission of the 
.discoverer and his publisher. 

* The upper fragment ITHIOrA is perhaps part of another inscription. 

Fig. 38. — Marble lusoription from Cos, containing the title Euergetes, cirea 53 a.d. Now in 
Sarrara Yussuf's garden wall, in the town of Cos. By permission of Kudolf Herzog and the 
publishing house of Theodor Weioher (Dieterich'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung). 

[p. 248 


Jesus knew this custom of "the Gentiles" most 
probably from Sjn*ian and Phoenician coins ^ which 
circulated in Palestine, and it is, I think, justifiable to 
suppose that this common Greek title existed as a 
borrowed word in Aramaic. The Greek title in the 
mouth of Jesus is, like His words about the denarius, 
one of the instances in which we seem to hear in the 
language of the Master the roar of breakers coming 
from the great world afar off. He mentioned the 
title not without contempt, and forbade His disciples 
to allow themselves to be so called : the name con- 
tradicted the idea of service in brotherhood. 

About twenty years after this St. Paul, on his 
journeyings through the world, finds himself at 
Athens. He walks through the streets, and stands 
meditating before an altar. He is profoundly in- 
terested by the inscription ^ : "To the unknown 
god." That line on the stone is to him the embodi- 
ment of the pagan yearning for the living God, whom 
he possesses in Christ. 

At Ephesus, whither St. Paul soon proceeded, 
there was another experience, not with an inscription 
this time, but with papyrus books. Preaching with 
the Holy Ghost and with power he won over a 
number of Jews and pagans, and many of them 
who had dealt in magic brought their magical 
books and burnt them pubUcly. There were such 
quantities of them that St. Luke— perhaps with 
some pious exaggeration — places their value at 
50,000 silver drachmae.^ The new discoveries en- 

> E.g. coins of the cities of Ptolemais (Acre) and Aradus with Alexander I. 
Bala, 150-145 B.C., Journal international d'archgologie numismatique, 4 (1901) 
p. 203, and 3 (1900) p. 148 ; and coins of Tyre and Aradus with Antioohus VII 
^uergetes, 141-129 B.C., iUd, 6 (1903) p. 291, and 3 (1900) p. 148. 

* 'Kyvibirrif 6ei^, Acts xvii. 23. 

" Acts xix. 19. 


able us to form a peculiarly vivid conception of the 
appearance and contents of these magical books. 
There are in our museums numerous fragments 
of ancient papyrus books of magic, sometimes of 
very considerable size, for the publication and 
elucidation of which we are especially indebted 
to Carl Wessely, Albrecht Dieterich, and Frederic 
Kenyon. The largest fragment is no doubt the 
"Great" Magical Papyrus in the Bibhotheque 
Nationale at Paris,^ which was written about 
300 A.D,, and has been edited by Wessely.^ 
Though it was not written till some centuries, 
after St. Paul's adventure, though it is in the 
form of a codex (instead of the roll which was 
probably still usual in the time of St. Paul), and 
though the usurpation of the name of Jesus (among 
other things) makes it no longer purely pagan or 
.Jewish, yet it will in the main aiFord us magical texts 
that are considerably older than the MS., and we are 
in a position to construct from it a distinct picture 
of what ancient magical literature at the time of 
St. Paul was like. There can, I think, be no doubt 
that we must assume a strong strain of Jewish 
influence in it even then. I choose as a specimen 
leaf 33 of the Paris book ' containing the end .of a 

' No. 574 of the Supplement greo. 

* Denkscbriften der philosophisoli-historisohen Classe der Eaiserlichen 
Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Wien, Bd. 36, Wien, 1888, pp. 27-208. 

' Wessely has re-edited most of this leaf with a translation, Patrologia 
Orientalit, t. IV., 2, pp. 187-190. I have silently corrected a number of readings 
from the photograph j and my translation departs a good deal from Wessely's 
ideas. The Jewish part of this leaf was explained before Wessely by Albrecht 
Dieterich, Abraxas StvMen zur BeligionsgeseMchte des spdtern Altertwm, 
Leipzig, 1891, p. 138 fE. He sees in the "pure men" of the concluding lines 
members of a sect of the Essenes resembling the Therapeutae (p. 146). 
Valuable elucidations were contributed by Ludwig Blau, Das altjttdisohe 
Zauberwesen, Jahresbericht der Landes-Babbinerschnle in Budapest fiir das 
Schuljahr 1897-8, Budapest, 1898, p. 112 ff. 











Fig. 39.— Folio 33 recto of the Great Magical Papyrus, written in Egypt 
cirea 300 A.D. Now in the Biblioth^qiie Nationale at Paris. (The photograph 
was obtained for me by the late Albrecht Dieterich.) 

[p. 261 


pagan recipe, and a long recipe written by a pagan 
but originally Jewish ' (Figures 39 and 40) :— 

Recto, Pagan Text (Figure 39) 
Tov ^vOov. al he SvvdfieK <rov iv rrj KapSia tov 'Ep- 
(loO eia-iv. tA ^v\a trov rh oa-rea rov Mvevean. km <tov 
2995 TCL avBi) iffTtv 6 o^daXfiof Tov"flpov, rb abv ariripiia 
TOV Tlavot iari airipim. ar/&vi ^&(re * pnreivq ok ical 
Tovi deoiiii. KoX em vyela ifiavrov Koi trvvoTrXiaBrj- 
Ti ctt' evxn- Kol So? 'nfuv Svvafiiv m? o "Aprji koX 
7) ^Adrjva. iyco etfit 'Epp.ri<i. Xafi^dvta o-e aiiv dyad^ 
3000 Tvxv «»' drYoffS) /iaifiovi koI iv KoXfj »? ' koI iv KoKfj 
ij m * Kal eirnevKTiKr) irpb? irdvra. ravr elirwv 
Trfv {lev rpvy7jdei<Tav troav ei<! Kadapov eXiira-e 
oOovtov. T^s Se pl^Ti'i rov roirov kind /lev irvpov 
KOKKov; T0v<i Se I'o-oi;? Kpidrj? fieXirt Sewavre? 
3005 eve^aXov Kal rrjv dvaa-Ko^etrrav yrjv evxmtya<; 
dTraXKaaaerai : 

Recto, Jewish Text (Figure 39) 

~vpo<i SMfiovia^o/iivov;^ JIi,^rf)(ea><i SoKifiov. 
\a^a>v ekaiov 6fi<f>aKi^ovra fierd ^ordvq^ 
IJMffTvyla<i Kal 'KMrofiriTpa<; e^ei fierd a-aff^ovy(pv 
3010 d-xptor'uTTOv Xeytov • ItorjX • fl(Tcrap6iw/ii • 
Efuopi • @ewxy^oid • SiOefieoax ' Xa>6rj • 
loMj • Mi/M'^adiaifo^ • ^epvtedi AEHIO Yil 
Ian) • EwxO'Pi'^&O' ' e^eXffe diro tov A * koiT '. 

TO he if>v\aKTi^piov iirl Xafivito KoaanepivSi 

' I am indebted to the kindness of my friend the late Albrecht Dieterich 
for the photographs of the two sides of the leaf, here reduced to about two- 
thirds of the original size (Figs. 39 and 40). A new edition of the whole 
papyrus is to be expected from a pupil of Dieterich's. ' — futrai. 

' = fipji. Cf. the ostracon with the charm for binding, below, p. 309. This 
and the one in the next line are good examples of p-monograms, which are 
very numerous in the papyri. The so-called monogram of Christ, which 
had been in use long before the time of Christ, is also one of them. Cf. my 
I^istle of Pienosms, p. 43 (in the German edition, JSm Dokvment, p. 23). 

* = Wcf. 

^ The word Sot/ioi'iiifw, of which I know no previous example, is probably 
formed on the analogy of ireXijraifw. « = detva. 

' = Kotvd, i.e. "and the other usual formulae." This note is frequent in 
magical papyri'. 


•3015 7pa</>6" Iar)(o' A^pacodioax' ^6a- Mea-ev- 

Tiviao) • $6<B% • larjo) • Xapa-OK • Kal irepunrTe 
rbv •7rda")(pvTa TravTo? Saifiovo'i (j}piKTov o ^o- 
^eiTai,. <TTi]a-a<! dvTixpv^ opKC^e. eariv Se d opKitr/ibt 
o5to9 • opici^a ae Karb, tov 6v rS>v 'E^paioiv 

5020 'Ir](rov- la^a- larj- A^pawO- Aia- Qmd- EXe- 
E\a> • Afjca • Eov • Iu^aey(^ • A^apfia^ • la^a- 
paov • A^eX^eX • Aoova • A^pa • Mapoia • ^paxi- 
(ov ' • irvpi^avrj ' 6 iv fjukar) apovpr}<! Kal j(i,6voi 
Kal ofiixXq^, Tavvrjrt^, KaTa^drm trov 6 oy- 

S025 ye\o<; 6 wrrapaiTTjro'i Kal ela-Kpivera> ^ rbv 

"TrepeTTTafjuevov Bai/iova rov 7rXda-p,aro<s rovTO^, 
o eirXaaev o 6<i iv tS> ayico eavTOv TrapaZei- 
<T(o. oTi sTrev'Xpfiat, aycov dv iirl A/ifjuov- 

i'<^evTav')(m. o. opKi^co ae Xa^pia • IukovO • 

S030 AffXava0avaX^a • AKpa/M/i. o. AmO • lada- 
^affpa ' Xa'xPa^pada • Xafivi'^eX * • A^pto- 
a>$. ail A^pcuriXood • AXXtjXov ■ leXaxrai • 
lar/X • opKt^a) tre rbv oTrravdevra ^ ra> 
'Oirpa^X * iv (ttuXod (ftwnvS) Kal ve^eXr) ri/ie- 

3035 pan) Kal pvadfievov avTov tov Xoyov ' epyov 
^apam Kal iireviyKavTa eVt ^apaw rrfv 
SeKo/TrXiyyov Sia rb vapaKoieiv avrov. opKi- 
fo) ae, irav irvevfia Batfioviov, XaXfjirai otrol- 
ov Kal av ?i<i, OTI, opKi^w a-e KaTo, T7}<s a-^parfi- 

3040 So? ^s edsTO SoXofiMV iirl ttjv yXaxraav 

TOV 'Iripefiiov Kal iXdXrjaev. Kal av XaXrjaov 
OTTOiov iav * ?!•! iireovpdviov ' rj depiov 

2 This must be a technical expression : the daemon, freed by exorcism, and 
fluttering about, is to be arrested so as not to enter into the man again 
<of. Mark ix. 25). 

' = \6yos. 

' The reading is uncertain ; the text has been corrected. 

" For this supposed " Biblical " word, of. p. 79. 

' Originally of course the formula, contained the word \a6y and perhaps 4ir4 

ToB tfyyov, 

' For this vulgar iht, which occurs again, instead of &v, of. Ifeue Bihel- 
MvMen, p. 29 ff. ; Bihle Studies, p. 202 fE. 

' = iirovpiviov. 






errr^^hTi'r^^H \'jTtH^^r^A^' f^K^^^^"'^' 

1.-70/ cTTf>jt*e^HJ ' J U a-^M^ 







i'le. 40 -Folio 33 verso of the Great Magical Papyrus, written in Egypt 
circa 300 A.D. Now in the Biblioth^qae Nationale at Paris. (The photograph 
was obtained for me by the late Albrecht Dieterioh.) ^^ ^^^ 


Vekso, Jewish Text (Figure 40) 

etT6 eirlr/eiov eire inroyeiov rj Karay(0ovtov 
^ ^E^ovadZov ^ Xepaaiov rj ^apiaeuov. ~KaXit(70v 
3045 otrolov iav ^9, on opKi^ca tre debv ij)(oiT<f>o- 

pov aiSdfuurrov, to, ev Kaphia Tracnj? ?ft)^? 

iwiffTci/ievov, tov ^ouoTrXatrTijv ^ tov yevov: 

T&v avBpwTrav, tov e^af/arfovra i^ dBijfKav 

Kot irvKVOvvra to. V6(f>i} Kol ver^ovra rijv yfjv 
3050 Koi evXjoryovvTa tov<s Kapnroi)^ avrrj^, ov ev- 

Xo7e4 iraa-a t'lrovpdvio's Svvd/iioii ^ drfy/ehMv 

apxoffyeKcov. opKi^to <re pAyav 6v Sa^a- 

o»0, St' ov 6 'lopSdvi)'! iroTafW<s dvej(a)- 

prjaev el<! ra oirio'io Kol 'Epvdpa ddkaaaa 
3055 ^v mSevaev Eiapaij'K koI earai ' dvohevTO!; • 

OTi opxi^a ae tov KaToZel^av'"' Ta<s eKwrov 

TeaaepdKOVTa yKmaaaf Koi hia/iepia-avTa 

T& ihito Trpoa-Tar/fiaTi. 6pici^a> ae tov t&v av- 

j(evitov yiydvTmv * rots Trprjarrjpa'i Kwra- 
3060 ^Xe^avTu, ov v/ivi os ' ovpav6<s t5>v ovpavtov, 

ov vfivov<n to, irTepvywfiaTa tov Xepov^iv, 

opKi^w ae TOV wepidevTa Spt) ttj ddXdaar) 

Tet')(p<s * e^ afifwv Kal eiriTd^avTa avTrj fir) inrep- 

^fjvai Kal hrrjKovaev fj d^va-ao^. Kal av eTrd- 
3065 Kovtrov, irav irvevfia Bai/jioviov, oti opKi^o) ae 

TOV auvaiovTa ' tov^ Tea<7apa<s dve/MV^ dirb 

T&v lep&v almvwv ovpavoiSfj OdXaaao- 

eioT) veipeXoeiSrj ^xdfT^opov dBdfiao'TOV, 

opKi^w TOV ev TTJ KoBapa 'lepoffdkvfuo & to 
3070 aa^eoTov irvp hid iravTo^ oa&vo^ irpoarrapd- 

KeiTai TtS ovofiMTi avTOv tw dyia Iaea>- 

0a<f>peveiju>w, o, hv Tpifiei Tevva irvpo^ 

' Xovm\&<rriis (xoottXiIotjis) is a word, not yet found elsewhere, of Jewish 
' Sivaius is meant, 

' = ioTTi, cf. LXX Exodus xiv. 27, xal i,ireKariaTii rh t>Sup. 
' A word has dropped out here ; Wessely's 6x\i»> is a good conjecture. 
" iia>ei i. 

' Corrected from retfos. 
' = vvurelovra. 
' = \iyos. 


Koi ip\6ye<; •7repu})Xoiyi^ov(n ical <Ti,Srjpo<i 
XaKa Kal irav 6po<; etc de/iekiov ^o^elrai. 

:3075 opKi^m ae, irav wvevfia Saifioviov, tov i^o- 
p&VTa eirX yrj^ Kal iroiovvTa eKrpofui ^ ra 
defuKia * airfji; xal iroiriaavTa ra irdvra 
e^ &v^ ovK ovTcav eh to elvai. opxi^m Si ae rov 
irapaXafi^avovTa rov opKier/wv rovrov vpipiov 

3080 firj ^arfelv Kal vworay^a-eral, o-ot "jrav Trvev/ia 
Kal Saifiovtov ottoIov eav ^v *. opKL^wv Se 
<f>v(Ta a ^ dwb rSv aKpav Kal rdSv voSwv d(f)ai- 
ptav ' TO <f>V(7r)fia ea? rov irpoa-mirov Kal elir- 
Kpidtjaerai. tjtvXaa-a-e Kadap6<i • d 'fap \d709 

3085 earlv e^paiKo<i Kal <j)v'Xa<T<r6fievo<; wapct ku- 
Oapoh dvhpdaiv. 

Recto, Pagan Text 

The subject referred to is a root, which is dug up with certain cere- 
monies, whUe a magic spell is pronounced, part of which comes on this 
page. The daemon is being addressed. Note the paratactic style and 
the frequent use of and.'' 

" of the depth. But thy powers are in the heart of 

Hermes. Thy trees are the bones of Mnevis.** And thy 
2995 flowers are the eye of Horus. Thy seed 

is the seed of Pan. Gird thyself for the strife with rosin 
as also' 

the gods. And for my health i" <and> be my companion 
in arms 

' t/crpo/ios is not in the lexicons, but it seems to be a synonym of ivrpoiim, 
Acts vii. 32, xvi. 29 ; Heb. xii. 21. (Te.) 

^ = eefii\ia. 

' ^=iK tQv. 

' For ^v after idn cf. Mue BibeUtuAien, pp. 29, 31 ; Bible Studies, p. 201 f. 

^ This o is no doubt a dittograph and may be struck out. 

» The MS. has atptupuiv, but &<t>aipwv would make no sense. iTalpm, how- 
«ver, used as in LXX Psalm Ixxvii. [hcxviii.] 26, 52 in the sense of " make to 
go forth," suits admirably and was probably the original reading. 

' Cf. p. 128 fE. above. 

' The Egyptian Sun-bull. 

• Here, I think, one line or more must have dropped out ; even by taking is 
as a preposition we get no good sense. 

" These words perhaps should be construed with the preceding. 


at my prayer.^ And give us power like Ares and 
Athena. I am« Hermes. I seize thee in feUowship 
with* good 
8000 Tyche and good Daemon, and in a good hour, and on a 
day good and prosperous for aU things." Having said 

roll* up the gathered herb in a clean 
linen cloth. But into the place of the root seven wheat- 
grains, and the like number of barley, they* mixed with 
S005 and threw. And having fiUed in the earth that was 
dug up 
he ' departeth. 

Recto, Jewish Text 

For those possessed by daemons, an approved charm by 

Pibechis \ 
Take oil made from xonripe ohves, together with the plant 
mastigia' and lotus pith,* and boil it with marjoram 
3010 (very colourless), saying : " Joel,' Ossarthiomi, 
Emori, Theochipsoith, Sithemeoch, Sothe, 

' Or " according to my wish." 

■■' Cf. pp. 134-139 above. 

' This <riy is a technical expression in the ritual of magic and cursing. 

* Note the change of subject. 

* 7.«. the digger of the root. 

« A magician, cf . Albrecht Dieterich, Jahibiicher fiir classische Philologie, 16, 
Supplementband (1888), p. 756. 

' n Cf . Albr. Dieterich, Abraxas, p. 138. [Can " herb mastic," a plant 
resembling marjoram, be meant 1 Tb.] 

' Latometra is perhaps the name of a plant, of. Thesaurus Lvnguae Graecae, 
V. col. 473. 

' In these charms we should try to distinguish between meaningless hocus- 
pocus and words of Semitic (of. Bibehtwtien, p. 1 S. ; Bible Studies, p. 321 ffi.) 
or Egyptian origin, etc., which once had and might still have a meaning. In 
trying to recover this meaning we must not only employ the resources of 
modem philology but also take into account the ancient popular and guessing 
etymologies, of which we have a good number of (Semitic) examples in the 
OnomaMiea Sacra. Several of the magical words in this text are Biblical 
and are explained in the Onomastioa Sacra, That the explanations in the 
Onomastiea Sacra were in some cases current among the people, is shown 
by the Heidelberg papyrus amulet containing Semitic names and Greek 
explanations (cf. Figure 62, facing p. il5 below). 


Joe, Mimipsothiooph, Phersothi AEfilOYO 

Joe, Eochariphtha: come out ofi such an one (and the 

other usual formulae)." 
But write this phylactery ^ upon a little sheet of 
3015 tin : " Jaeo, Abraothioch, Phtha, Mesen- 
tiniao, Pheoch, Jaeo, Charsoc," and hang it 
round the sufferer: it is of every daemon a thing to be 
trembled at,' which 

he fears. Standing opposite, adjure him. The adiura- 
tion is 

this : « I adjure thee by the god of the Hebrews 
S020 Jesu,* Jaba, Jae, Abraoth, Aia, Thoth, Ele, 
Elo, Aeo, Eu, Jiibaech, Abarmas, Jaba- 
rau, Abelbel, Lona, Abra, Maroia, arm, 
thou that appearest in fire,= thou that art in the midst 

of earth and snow 
and vapour,^ Tannetis^ let thy angel descend, 
30S5 the implacable one, and let him draw into captivity the 
daemon as he flieth around this creature 
which God formed in his holy paradise.* 
For I pray to the holy god, through the might of* 

ipsentancho." Sentence. « I adjure thee with bold, rash 
words: Jacuth, 
3080 Ablanathanalba, Acramm." Sentence. "Aoth, Jatha- 

' The same formula exactly occurs in Luke iv. 35 ; with iK instead of diri in 
Mark i. 25, v. 8, ix. 25. 
' I.e. amulet. 
» Cf. James ii. 19, and SibeUtudim, p. 42 f. ; Bible Studies, p. 288. 

• The name Jesu as part of the formula can hardly be ancient. It was 
probably inserted by some pagan: no Christian, still leas a Jew, would bave 
called Jesus " the god of the Hebrews." 

" The arm of God together with the fare is probably a reminiscence of 
passages like LXX Isaiah xxvi. 11 and Wisdom xvi. 16. 

• Snow and vapomr coming from God, LXX Psalm cxlvii. 5 [16], cf. also 
LXX Job xxxviii. 22, 9. 

' 7 Dietericb, Ahrateas, p. 138, alters it to TcmvaBeis. 

' Cf. Tanchuma, Pikkude 3 : Eabbi Jochanan said : " . . . Know that all the 
souls which have been since the first Adam and which shall be till the end of 
the whole world, were created in the six days of creation. They are all in the 
garden of Eden " (Ferdinand Weber, Jiidisohe Theologie avf Brwnd det Talmud 
wnd verwandter SoMften,' Leipzig, 1897, p. 225), 

' This M seems to be related to the technical aip (p. 25S, n. 3 above). 


bathra, Chachthabratha, Chamynchel, Abro- 
6th. Thou art Abrasiloth, Allelu, Jelosai, 
Jael : I adjure thee by him who appeared unto 
Osrael ^ in the pillar of light and in the cloud by 

3035 day,^ and who delivered' his word* from the taskwork* 
of Pharaoh and brou^t upon Pharaoh the 
ten plagues ® because he heard not.' I adjure 
thee, every daemonic spirit, say whatsoever 
thou art.* For I adjure thee by the seal 

3040 which Solomon ' laid upon the tongue 

of Jeremiah ^^ and he spake. And say thou 
whatsoever thou art, in heaven, or of the air, 

Verso, Jewish Text 

or on earth,^^ or under the earth or below the groimd,^^ 
or an Ebusaean, or a Chersaean, or a Pharisee. ^^ Say 
3045 whatsoever thou art, for I adjure thee by God the light- 
bringer,^^ invincible," who knoweth what is in the heart 

' This form also suggests the pagan origin of the editor of the Jewish- 

' See for the facts Bxod. xiii. 21. The LXX has pillar of fire, not pillar 
of light. 

' A frequent expression in the LXX. 

* Word Qiiyov) written by mistake tor people (Xofe). 

» LXX Exod. 1. 11. « LXX Bxod. vii. ff. 

' LXX Bxod. vii. 4. 

' To obtain complete power over the daemon it is necessary to know his- 
name ; hence the question to the daemon in Mark v. 9 = Luke viii. 30. 

' Solomon's seal is well known in magic; see for instance Dieterich^ 
Ahraxai, p. 141 f., Schiirer, Gesohiohte desjvMsohen Volhes, III.' p. 303. 

'» I do not know what this refers to. The tradition is probably connected 
with LXX Jer. i. 6-10. 

" In spite of the resemblance to PhU. ii. 10, Bph. ii. 2, iii. 10, vi. 12, this is- 
not a quotation from St. Paul. The papyrus and St. Paul are both using 
familiar Jewish categories. 

" This remarkable trio of daemons obviously comes from LXX Gen. xv. 20, 
Exod. iii. 8, 17, etc., where we find Xcttoioi (who have become Xepiraloi, 
i.e. "land daemons"), iepe^aiai (who have become the more intelligible: 
" Pharisees "), and 'Ie;3ov(rai«. Xe^wroKis, which also occurs elsewhere as a 
designation applied to a daemon (see Wessely's index), has here no doubt the 
force of an adjective derived from a proper name. Dieterich, Abrascas, p. 139, 
explains the passage somewhat difEerently. 

" Cf . LXX Gren. i. 3 and many similar passages. 

» Cf. 3 Mace. vi. 13. 



of all life,^ who of the dust ^ hath formed the race 
of men, who hath brought out of uncertain [places] 
and maketh thick the clouds ' and causeth it to rain upon 
the earth* 

3050 and blesseth the fruits thereof^ ; who is 

blessed by every power in heaven of angels,* 
of archangels. I adjure thee by the great God Sabaoth, 
through whom the river Jordan returned 
backward,' — the Red Sea * also, 

3055 which Israel journeyed over and it stood ' impassable. 
For I adjure thee by him that revealed the hundred 
and forty tongues and divided them 
by his command.!" I adjure thee by him who 
with his lightnings the [ra«e ?] of stiff-necked " giants eon- 

3060 sumed,''' to whom the heaven of heavens sings praises,^' 
to whom Cherubin ^* his wings sing praises. 
I adjure thee by him who hath set mountains ^ about the 

' LXX Job vii. 20; Psalm cxxxviii. [oxxxix.] 23. An inaccuracy in the 
translation here was corrected by P. W. Sohmiedel (letter, Zurich, 9 March 
1909). ' LXX Gen. ii. 7. 

' LXX Psalm cxxxiv. [cxxxv.] 7. * LXX Job xxxviii. 26. 

= LXX Deut. vii. 13. « LXX Isaiah vi. 3. 

' LXX Joshua iii. ISffi. ; Psalm cxiii. [oxiv.] 3. 
■ LXX Exod. xiv. 
' LXX Exod. xiv. 27. 

" Noah's generations enumerated in Genesis a:, contain the names of 70 
peoples ; the Jews therefore assumed that there were 70 difEerent languages 
(Weber," p. 66). Our papyrus has 2 x 70 languages— a number not mentioned 
elsewhere, so far as I know. 
" Ct. LXX Psahn cicxviii. [cxxix.] 4. 

'* This is a combination from LXX Gen. vi. i S. and xix. 24 S. The giants 
and the people of Sodom and Gomorrha are mentioned together as typical 
«vil-doers in Bcclus. xvi. 7, 3 Mace. ii. 4, and the Book of Jubilees xx. 5. 
Dieterioh, Abraxas, p. 143, explains the passage differently. 
'= LXX Psabn xviii. [xix.] 2. 

" The use of Cherubin as a singular may perhaps be regarded as another 
.proof that this Jewish formula was written out by a pagan. Cf . Tersteegen's 
plural form die SerapMnen, resulting from a like misconception of SerapMn as 
a singular. [^Cherubm, -m, was formerly used as a singular in English. The 
Mw Engliih Sietionary has examples ranging from Wyclif to Dickens, and 
i,he plural cherubvim is familiar in the A.V. Even in the LXX xepow;8£,B is 
treated as a neuter singular in 2 Sam. xxii. 11 and 2 Chron. iii. 11. Tb.] 

^ MovMtaim (Jiprf) is a corruption of iowndi (llpta), of. LXX Job xxxviii. 10, 
;and especially LXX Jer. v. 22. 


a wall of sand,i and hath charged it not to pass 
over,^ and the deep hearkened. And do thou 
3065 hearken, every daemonic spirit, for I adjure thee 
by him that moveth ' the four winds since 
the holy aeons, him the heaven-like, sea- 
like, cloud-like, the light-bringer, invincible. 
I adjure thee by him that is in Jerosolymum * the pure, 
to whom the 
.3070 unquenchable fire ^ through every aeon is 
offered, through his holy name Jaeo- 
baphrenemun (Sentence), before whom trembleth^ the 

Genua ' of fire 
and flames flame round about * and iron 
bursteth ' and every mountain feareth ^^ from its founda- 
3075 I adjure thee, every daemonic spirit, by him that 
looketh down on earth and maketh tremble the 
foundations " thereof and hath made all things 
out of things which are not into Being.^^ But I adjure 

thou that usest ^' this adjuration : the flesh of swine 

' LXX Jer. v. 22. 

' LXX Job xxxviii. 11 ; Jer. v. 22. 

' LXX Psalm cxxxiv. [oxxxv.] 7. 

' Cf. LXX Fsalm cxxxlv. [cxxxv.] 21. The form of the name of the city 
:again points to a pagan writer. 

^ LXX Lev. yi. 9, 12, 13. The fiie is that on the altai of burnt-oSeiing at 
Jemsalem. As this fire was extinguished for ever in the year 70 A.D., this 
{)ortion of the papyms at any rate must have oi%inated before the destruction 
of Jerusalem. ' 

« LXX Isaiah sdv. 9. 

' Is. Gehenna. On the Jewish conceptions of hell cf. Weber," p. 393 fE. 
The word Ttueuva, from which (through an intermediate form Teema) our word 
Tewa is derived, occurs as a transcription in LXX Joshua xviii, 16. 
" LXX Isaiah Ixvj. 15 ff., etc. 

' The translation is not certain. I assume a form "KaK&a ( = XiiirKu}, a back- 
formation from i\i,Kii(ra. For the allusion see LXX Jer. vi. 28, Fsalm cvi. 
fcvii.] 16, xlv. [xlvi.] 10. 

'• LXX Psalm xvii. [xviii.] 8, etc. ; cf. also BiieUtudien, p. 45 f.; Bible 
■Stitdies, p. 290 1 

" LXX Psalm ciii. [civ.] 32 ; of. xvii. [xviii.] 8 and BibeUtuMen, p. 44 ; 
JBihle StvMes, p. 290. 

'" 2 Mace. vii. 28. 

■" Or " receivest." (Te.) 


3080 eat not, and there shall be subject unto thee every spirit 
and daemon, whatsoever he be. But when thou adjurest, 
blow,* sending the breath from above [to the feet] and 
from the feet to the face,* and he [the daemon] will 
be drawn into captivity. Be pure and keep it. For the 

3085 is Hebrew and kept by men 
that are pure.' 

Good parallels to the Jewish portion of the above 
text, both as a whole and in details, are furnished by 
the leaden tablet from Hadrunietum * and a magi- 
cian's outfit discovered at Pergamum.^ Any one 
who can read this one leaf without getting bewildered 
by the hocus-pocus of magic words, will admit that 
through the curious channel of such magical literature 
a good portion of the religious thought of the Greek 
Old Testament found its way into the world, and 
must have already found its way by the time of 
St. Paul. The men of the great city in Asia Minor 
in whose hands St. Paul found texts of this kind 
were, though heathen, not altogether unprepared 
for Bible things. The flames of the burning papyrus 
books could not destroy recollections of sacred 
formulae which retained a locus standi even in the 
new faith. But, apart from this, the magical books 
with their grotesque farrago of Eastern &nd Western 
religious formulae, afford us striking illustrations of 
how the reUgions were elbowing one another as the 
great turning-point drew near. They are perhaps 

> For this formula of. Luke x. 17, 20; 1 Cor. xlv. 32. 

2 Cf. LXX Gen. ii. 7 (John xx. 22). 

' These concluding lines again prove that the formula was written out by a 
pagan magician. 

' Bibelstvj&len, pp. 21-54; Bible Studies, pp. 269-300. 

» Antikes Zaubergerat aus Pergamon, herausgegeben von Richard Wiinsoh. 
Jahrbuch des Kaiserl. Deutsohen Archaolog. Instituts, Erganzungsheft 6, 
Berlin, 1905, p. 35 f. 


the most instructive proofs of the syncretism of the 
middle and lower classes. 

Jesus handling coins, St. Paul reading the inscrip- 
tion on the Athenian altar, or watching the burning 
of magical books at Ephesus — are not these detached 
pictures typical? Is not the New Testament itself 
offering us a clue in our studies ? Is it not teUing 
us that the texts contemporary with but not be- 
longing to Primitive Christianity, which have come 
down to us in the original, must be read with the 
eyes of the religious man and with the spectacles of 
the historian of religion ? This raises the subject of 
the present chapter : the bearing of the new texts on 
social ^ and rehgious ^ history. In the second chapter 
we discussed the Unguistic, in the third the literary 
bearing of the new texts on the New Testament, and 
we were chiefly, of course, concerned with the more 
formal aspects of interpretation. Now we are pro- 
posing an inquiry which involves deeper issues. 
We seek to understand the substance of the New 
Testament (and so of Primitive Christianity), and 

' The application of the methods of social history (as attempted iu the 
following pages) seems to me particularly needful and profitable. 

' The comparative study of religion, so it seems to me, has of late led to 
an exaggeration of the so-called Oriental "influences" (Hermann Gankel, 
2iumi religionggeeoMchtlieJien Verstdndnis des Neuen Testaments, Gottlngen, 
1903). The material must be more sharply discriminated as " analogical " 
and "genealogical," and the genealogical portion is in the main only of 
indirect importance (this is also the opinion of Gunkel, who assumes that 
Judaism acted as intermediary). Gunkel, however (p. 6), rightly emphasises 
the fact that the New Testament is a Greek book. This is the side of the 
problem which iuterests me most. My desire is to continue the work recently 
begun by Georg Heinrioi, Adolf Hamack, H. J. Holtzmann, Otto Pfleiderer, 
and other theologians, by Hermann Dsener, Albreoht Dieterich, Eichard 
Eeitzenstein, Paul Wendland, and other classical scholars. To the literary 
Greek sources, which have been chiefly studied hitherto, I would add the 
non-literary ones, which are for the most part more congenial with the New 
Testament. An excellent guide to the material hitherto collected by students 
of comparative reUgion is Carl Clemen's ReligionsgeteUehtUehe ErUimmg det 
Neuen Testaments, Giessen, 1909. 


here again, I believe, the new texts will not 
desert us. 

Some kind of an understanding as to methods of 
work would certainly be desirable at the outset ; but 
I must resist the temptation to discuss here in its fiiU 
extent a methodological problem ^ which has engaged 
my liveliest interest since the beginning of my 
studies. I will only remark that in the case of each 
single observation made I find the questions resolve 
themselves for me into the alternative ^ : is it analogy 
or is it genealogy ? That is to say, we have to ask : 
Are the similarities or points of, agreement that we 
discover between two diflFerent religions to be re- 
garded as parallelisms of more or less equal religious 
experience, due to equality of psychic pitch and 
equality of outward conditions, or are they dependent 
one on the other, demonstrable borrowings ? 

Where it is a case of inward emotions and religious 
experiences and the naive expression of these emo- 
tions and experiences in word, symbol, and act, I 
should always try first to regard the particular fact 
as " analogical." ^ 

Where it is a case of a formula used in worship, a 
professional liturgical usage, or the formulation of 
some doctrine, I should always try first to regard the 
particular fact as " genealogical." 

The apologist, if he ever acknowledges anything, 
acknowledges as a rule only analogy, and prefers 
to erect walls and fences round his own little 

> BichardM. Meyer, Kriterien der Aiieignimg (ofEprint from Nene Jahrbuoher 
fur das klassische Altertum, etc.), Leipzig, 1906, is very instructive. 

' Of. Die ChriBtUche Welt, 14 (1900) col. 270. 

= To Georg Heinrici belongs the undoubted merit of having paved the way 
for the analogical method, in Germany, at a time when such researches met 
with little sympathy. 


The amateur in these subjects thinks as a rule only 
of genealogy. His best instrument is the wooden 
ruler with which, to his own increasing admiration, 
he draws straight lines that can be produced to any 
length. Fmding a phantom of the desert among the 
Bedouins and a slave possessed with a daemon in 
the lanes of Smyrna, he triumphantly proclaims the 
phantom as the ancestress of the daemon, and there 
is nothing hidden from his sagacity after he has 
persuaded himself that the gold in some prehistoric 
shrine came from Saba, the marble from Paros, and 
the cedar-wood from Lebanon. 

Most pitiable of all, however, are the mere shifters- 
on ^ and wipers-out of names. Anjrthing trivial they 
regard as genuine ; where there is a great name, 
there is something to rub out : the Sermon on the 
Mount cannot be by Jesus, nor the Second to 
Corinthians by Paul. By whom then ? The Sermon 
on the Mount by X or Y, or possibly by seventeen 
anonymous writers, and the Second to Corinthians, 
if written by anybody, then by Z, yes, by Z ! Having 
thus made everything anonymous, they think they 
have done a work of scholarship and have disposed of 
the texts themselves for ever. 

Now, supposing there were cogent reasons for 
doubting St. Paul's authorship of the confessions in 
the Second to Corinthians, I should acknowledge 
these reasons. But would the text itself be then 
done away with ? The text itself, with its thoughts, 
remains, and remains classic: the disappearance of 
the one word Paul from the first line does not detract 
from the intrinsic value of the text. Does a coin- 
collector throw one of his gold coins on the dust-heap 

' The term Weitersehieher (here translated " shi£ters-on ") was coined by 
Hermann Oeser, Die ChristUche Welt, 5 (1891) col. 780. 


because it was along with the Persian ones and he 
finds it to be Lycian, or because he is unable to 
identify it at all ? 

What is the actual result of making the synoptic 
sayings of Jesus anonymous? Merely the proper 
name Jesus is erased ; the centre of energy, the " I," 
the personality behind the sayings, remains. 

We will not dispute that the erasers and shifters- 
on may in their zeal empty an ink-pot over the map 
of the ancient Mediterranean lands ; a great deal is 
possible in the scholar's study. But if these poor 
people want us to do more than sympathise with 
them in their misfortune— as we certainly do most 
readily— if they ask us to believe that the blackened 
provinces of their dirty map have swallowed up all 
that was counted valuable evidence of the ancient 
culture of the Mediterranean, they demand the sacri- 
fice of our intellects. We must treat them kindly, 
and let them go on shifting ; the earth is round, and 
so, across sea and land, they will find their way back 
to us some day. 

Pledged to no inexorable "method," but testing 
each case as it arises ; not providing an answer at 
any cost to every question, but content to leave 
doubtful what is really obscure ; recognising, how- 
ever, that light is light — the New Testament student 
will reap a rich harvest from our texts. Let me 
proceed to give some indication of the sort of thing 
he is likely to find, and where it may be found.^ 

2. He finds the world as it was in the age of the 
Caesars, that is the historical background of Primitive 

' The following pages make no claim to even approximate completeness of 
statement. As a rule only characteristic ex&mples have been picked out ; the 
amount of material still to be worked up is enormous. 


Christianity — and first of all the general cultural 

In sketching the literary development of Primitive 
Christianity we saw that in the growth of our religion 
there is reflected from the very beginning the differ- 
ence between the characteristics of the common 
people in town and country. To comprehend this 
difference we must know what the ancient civilisation 
was like in town and country. From literary sources 
we were fairly well acquainted with ancient city-life, 
but the ancient village and small country town, being 
seldom touched upon in literature, were practically 
inaccessible. Archaeological discovery, especially 
since the finding of papyri and ostraca, has brought 
about a resurrection of such places. As students 
of the New Testament we are most interested 
in the villages and little country towns of Galilee, 
and we have at any rate become acquainted with 
the same kind of places in the neighbour land of 

Some idea of the abundance and freshness of the 
materials now at our command to illustrate the 
civilisation of certain Egyptian villages may be 
gathered from an examination of Wessely's ^ valuable 
collections relating to the villages of Caranis and 
Socnopaei Nesus. Any one who has been brought 
up in the country and has a spark of imagination 
clinging to him can now without difficulty participate 
by sympathy in the thousand and one little things 
that made up the social vortex for the men and 
women of these places. The same trifles, of daUy 
occurrence among then- not very dissimilar neighbours 

„„!, p^'^"*' °°'\..?°'^''P^*" ^««°^> Stn-^en znr Gesohichte autiker Cultur- 
^ndPersonenverhaltnisse. Denkschriflen der Kaiserl. Akademie der Wfasen 
schaften m Wien, philos.-hist. Qasse, Band 47, Wien, 1902, p 7es 


in Galilee at the same epoch, served the Master of 
parable as symbols of the Eternal. 

No less vividly, however, the country towns of Egypt, 
large and small, arise before us— Arsinoe, Magdola' 
Oxyrhynchus,! Hermupolis," and other places. 

There must, of course, have been diflferences be- 
tween country life in Egypt and in Palestine, owing 
particularly to differences in the soil and methods of 
work. The degree of Hellenisation must also have 
been slighter in Galilee than in Egypt. But the 
common element must have predominated. 

The parallelism extends not only to detaUs of social 
history such as the unpopularity of the "publicans,"' 
or again the "tribute" of two drachmae* levied in 
Egypt for the Great Great God Suchus in the gospel 
age," but also to peculiarities of legal life. 

A Florentine papyrus' of the year 85 a.d. 
(Figure 41) supplies a very noteworthy parallel to 
Mark xv. 15, etc. In the words of the evangelist,' 

' Erich Ziebarth discourses with charm and fascination of these three little 
towns in his Eultwhilder am griechisehen. Stadten, (Vol. 131 of the series 
called "Ans Natur und Geisteswelt"), Leipzig, 1907, p. 96 fE. A rich collec- 
tion ,of material for Arsinoe is given by Carl Wessely, Die Stadt Arsinoe 
(Krokodilopolis) in griechischer Zeit, Sitzungsber. der Kais. Akad. d. W. in 
Wien, philos.-hist. CI., Bd. 145, Wien, 1902, pp. 1-58. 

' Of. the life-like description by Paul Viereok, Die Papyrustirkunden von 
HermupoUs. Bin Stadtbild aus romischer Zeit. Deutsche Rundschau, 35, 
Part 1 (October 1908), pp. 98-117. 
» Cf, Wilcken, €frieehisohe Ostraha, I. p. 568 f. * Matt. xvii. 24. 

' Berliner Griechische TJrkunden, No. 748, of the year 48 a.d. Cf. Wilcken, 
Grieehisehe Ostralta, I. 860. For the expression "Great Great (= greatest) 
God," imitated from the Egyptian (Wilcken), cf. Moulton, Grammar,^ p. 97. 

" No. eissfi. Supplement! Filologico-Storici ai Monument! Anticbi Papiri 
Greco-Bgizii pubblicati dalla E. Acoademia dei Lincei, volume primo, Papiri 
Morentini . . . per cura di Girolamo Vitelli, Milauo, 1906, p. 113 S., with 
facsimile .(Plate IX.), here reproduced (Figure 41) by kind permission of 
the E. Acoademia dei Lincei. Of. the valuable notes by Ludwig Mitteis, 
Zeitschriftder Savigny-Stiftung fiir Eechtsgeschichte, 26 (1905), Eomanistische 
Abteilnng, p. 485 ff. For the chronology cf. Wilcken, Archiv, 4, p. 445. 

^ 6 Si Ilei\S,Tos pov\6/ttym n-oi^aoi tA i/tovii' T<f 6x^ifi iiriXmo' airois rbf 
Bapa^^af Kctl irapiSuKey rbv 'iTjaovv ^payeWtbtras iva ffravpuOy. 

Fig. 41. — Eeport of Judicial Proceedings before the Praefect of Egypt, Gr. Septimius Vegetus, 85 A.D. 
Papyrus. Now at Florence. By permission of the R. Accademia dei Lincei. (f of the size of the 

[p. 267 


" And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released 
Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had 
scourged Him, to be crucified." 

The papyrus, containing a report of judicial pro- 
ceedings, quotes these words of the governor of 
Egypt, G. Septimius Vegetus, before whom the case 
was tried, to a certain Phibion : — 

" Thou hadst been worthy of scourging ^ . . . but I will 
give thee to the people." ^ 

Phibion's offence was that he had "of his own 
authority imprisoned a worthy man [his alleged 
debtor] and also women." The Florentine papyrus 
is thus a beautiful illustration of the parable of the 
wicked servant (Matt, xviii. 30) and the system, 
which it presupposes, of personal execution by im- 
prisonment for debt. Numerous other papyri and 
inscriptions show that this was in Graeco-Roman 
Egypt, and elsewhere, a widespread legal custom.* 
Probably the most interesting example for us is an 
inscription* in the Great Oasis containing an edict 
of the governor of Egypt, Tib. Julius Alexander, 
68 A.D. The technical expression here used has the 
same ring as in the gospel. « They delivered them 
into other prisons," says the Roman governor ' ; "he 
cast him into prison," says Jesus.* 

' A paraUel to John nx. 1, of. also Luke xviii. 33, etc., where, as in the 
papyrus, the word used is fiaimyda. 

, JJ!!'" '5* «' """^'T"*?™'. ■ • • X«/>tfo/«« Si ae rot, ix\oit. Vitelli oaUed 

Witeken" ^" ^^' ^ ^"^^ '^"* °^ ^^^ P^Py™' " conversation with 

tJw ■ ^^'^f^'^J f "^'^S *^i"eis, RHehsreoht und Volk>recla in den bitlichen. 
^r^ desTo^ehen KoA^reicU, Leipzig, 1891, p. 444 ff. ; also Zeitsohrift 

p. 488, a note on the Eeinach Papyrus No. 7. 

Fig.^5*£^*'' ^"*** ^'^'^ In>CTipti<^, 8electae, No. 669,««. (cf. below. 

' vapiSmm koX ets iXXo! <)>v\aKis. 
' tpaSey ainbv eis ^vXa/r^i'. 


Perhaps the most remarkable discovery of this 
kind in the new texts is a parallel found some time 
ago to the statement in Luke ii. 3, which has been 
so much questioned on the strength of mere book- 
learning, that on the occasion of the enrolment for 
taxation made by Cyrenius, " all went to enrol them- 
selves, every one to his own city." ^ That this was 
no mere figment of St. Luke or his authority, but 
that similar things ^ took place in that age, is proved 
by an edict ' of G. Vibius Maximus, governor of 
Egypt, 104 A.D. (Figure 42). I am indebted to 
Ulrich Wilcken * for the following restoration of the 
text, to which re-examinations of the original by 
Grenfell and Hunt have also contributed : — 

r[aios Owi]/8tp[9 Md^Lfw; eira^j^o^^ 
AlyvTrrlpv Xeyef] 

20 TTJ's Kar olljcLav d7rojpa^<s (rv]vea-T(l)[ir7i<!\ * 
dvayKalov [i<mv iraaiv rot]? icaO^ ^[vrtz/a] 
Sijirore alr^iav iKcrrda-i, t&v eavTwv] 
vo/jiS>v irpoaralyyeWela-Oai e7ra[i'6\-] 
0eiv el<i TO, eav[rmv e](f)ecrTi,a, iv[a\ 

25 Kal rrjv crvvqOr} [oi]KOvofi[av Tij[9 aTTO-] 
ypa^'i TrXrjpcoa-ma'iv xal Tq 7rpoa\r]KOV-\ 
ar) avToh yecopyiat irpoa-Kaprepi^aefllffiv.] 

Gaius Vibius Maximus, Praefect of Egypt, saith : The enrol- 
ment by household * being at hand, it is necessary to notify all 

' Kcd iirojieioi/To vAvres iiroypd^ffBtu, InairTos els riir iavroO iroXo'. 

* The Egyptian edict does not correspond with the passage in St. Luke in 
-every particular, but the similarity is very great. 

' Greek Papyri in the British Museum, Vol. III., ed. F. G. Kenyon and 
H. I. Bell, London, 1907, p. 125, No. 904i8fl., with facsimile (Plate 30), here 
reproduced by kind permission of the British Museum (Fig. 42). Cf . J . H. 
Moulton, The Expository Times, Vol. 19, No. 1, October 1907, p. 40 f., and 
B. Schiirer, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 32 (1907) col. 683 f.— I have already (p. 227 above) 
estimated the importance of this papyrus in other respects. 

* Letter, Leipzig, 13 Oct. 1907. 

' P. W. Schmiedel would read ^]i'e(rr(i[iri)s]. 

' The reference is to one of the censuses which were taken (according 1;o 
«,n important discovery by U. Wilcken, Hermes, 28 [1893] p. 230 ff.) every 


^ A»'"^^ 

.^c>^^^-^ ^ 

!f ° --•» 



#1 (-:>.l 

Fig 42 -Edict of the Praefect of Egypt, G. Vibius Maiimus, 104 a.d. Papyrus (part of a letter 
copy-book). Now in the British Museum. By perrnission of the Museum authorities, (f of the size 

of the original.) 

[p. 268 


who for any cause soever are outside their nomes to return 
to their domestic hearths, that they may also accomplish the 
customary dispensation of enrolment and continue steadfastly 
in the husbandry that belongeth to them. 

With regard to the last two lines Wilcken ^ writes, 
to me : " We have several such edicts, requiring the 
peasants to return and do their work {eg? Geneva 
Papyrus No. 16). The Praefect here goes beyond 
his immediate subject when he takes the opportunity 
to enforce these injunctions once again." 

The cultural parallelism between Egypt and the 
birthplace of Christianity again explains the fact that 
we are repeatedly able to illustrate from Egyptian 
papyri details of the life of the people in Palestine 
which Jesus immortalised in His parables. 

Besides the above-mentioned parallel to the parable 
of the wicked servant, we have illustrations to the 
parables of the good Samaritan,^ the importunate 
widow,* and the prodigal son.^ To one familiar with 
both the gospels and the papyri the general impres- 
sion says even more plainly than the details that we 
are dealing with the same kind of people in the twa 

Of course there are equally notable parallels to 
gospel details in the written remains found in other 
Mediterranean lands. The fact is that the threads 
of connexion between Primitive Christianity and the 

14 years in order to fix the poll-tax or other personal dues. Among the papyri 
there are large nombers of documents relating to these assessments. Sir 
W. M. Bamsay, Wax Ch/ritt 'bom at BetMehem ? London, 1898, attempted to- 
explain the enrolment in the time of Cyrenius by means of these facts ; cf. on< 
the other hand B. Schiirer, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 24 (1899) col. 679 f. 

' Letter, Leipzig, 24 Oct. 1907. 

^ This and other edicts are cited by the editors Kenyon and Bell, p. 124 f _ 

' Cf. above, p. 131, n. 1. 

' Cf. above, p. 131, n. 1. 

' Cf. above, p. 131, n. 1 ; and especially p. 176 fE. 


world are to be sought not in the high regions of 
culture and power but in the lower levels of the 
common life of the people, which has been far too much 
neglected hitherto. When it has once been grasped 
i;hat the threads cross and re-cross where labourers 
work for hire in the vineyard, and where the house 
is swept for the sake of a lost drachma, we shall be 
ready to receive with something more than indiiFerence 
•a detail like the following, which brings so vividly 
before our eyes the popular character of the gospel.^ 

In order to arm His disciples for their dangerous 
work in the world with the same trust in God that 
billed His own heart, Jesus exhorts them (Matt. x. 
28 ff.) thus:— 

" Fear not. . . . Are not two sparrows sold for a 
farthing ? and one of them shall not fall on the ground 
without your Father. But the very hairs of your head 
are aU numbered. Fear ye not therefore ; ye are of more 
value than many sparrows." 

The evangelist Luke (xii. 6) has recorded this saying 
rsomewhat differently : — 

" Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings ? " 

The difference between these two versions is 
practically quite unimportant, although the equa- 
tion 2:5 = 1:2 does not hold mathematically. On 
the purchaser taking a larger number of birds the 
proportional price may weU have been reduced ; as 
we should say nowadays, they came cheaper by the 
half-dozen. It is quite possible that Jesus repeated 
this particularly homely analogical conclusion from 
the less (the little sparrows) to the greater (the 
infinitely more valuable human beings) on more 

' In what follows I avail myself of my article on " Der Marktpreis der 
iSperlinge " in Die ChristUohe Welt, 17 (1903) col. 203 flE. 


than one occasion, with variants, so that both versions 
might go back to Him. Be that as it may, the 
saying about the sparrows — apart, of course, from 
the mighty "Fear not," which is indivisible — contains 
a threefold statement if we analyse it as an economic 
■document of the Imperial period : — 

(1) Sparrows were a very cheap article sold in 

the market as food for the poor ; 

^2) They were sold in the market either by the 

pair or in fives, the pair being the smallest, 

and five the next smallest quantity sold ; 

(3) The market price in the time of Jesus was a 

"farthing" (= about a hal^enny of our 

money) a pair, or two "farthings " (= about 

a penny of our money) for five. 

The same three deductions, nearly, can be drawn 

from one of the inscriptions discovered recently. 

There is a highly important commercial law of the 

Emperor Diocletian, known as the maximum tariff, 

the greater part of which has long been known from 

inscriptions. All kinds of articles of commerce are 

quoted in this tariff^, and to each item is attached 

the highest price at which it is allowed to be sold. 

Historians of the Imperial period are not agreed 

as to the real purpose of this tariff ; but the question 

does not concern us here. The interesting point 

for us is that a new fragment^ of the tariff which 

was discovered in Aegira in 1899 gives us the highest 

price for sparrows. From it we learn the following 

particulars, applying of course to the end of the third 

century a.d. : — 

(1) Of all birds used for food sparrows are the 
cheapest; they are cheaper, for instance, 
than thrushes, beccaficoes, and starlings. 

^ Published in an Athens journal, E^/tepis kpxautKayiKii, 1899, p. 161, 


(2) They were usually sold in decades. Ten seems 

to have been the regular number with all 
sorts of small animals (of. our dozen) ; the 
tariff, for instance, gives the prices for 10 
thrushes, 10 beccaficoes, 10 starlings. 

(3) According to the tariff 10 sparrows are to be 

sold for at most 16 "denarii." This does 
not mean the old silver denarii, but the 
new copper coins, whose value Theodor 
Mommsen^ and Salomon Reinach^ agree 
in estimating at (If pfennig, 2i centimes) 
less than an EngUsh farthing. The market 
price of 10 sparrows was fixed at a maxi- 
mum of threepence-halfpenny (English). 
From what Jesus says, the half-decade of sparrows 
in His day cost about one penny (English); the 
whole decade would therefore cost about twopence. 
Taking into account the difference in date — which 
is itself quite sufficient to explain the difference in 
price — and the fact that Diocletian is fixing a maxi- 
mum price, we cannot deny that Jesus spoke with 
correct observation of the conditions of everyday life. 
This is not a mere game that we have been playing with 
farthings. The edict of the Emperor Diocletian helps 
us, I think, to understand one of the finest utterances 
of Jesus in its original significance. Even in small 
things Jesus is great. The unerring eye for actualities 
that asserts itself so repeatedly in the gospel parables, 
comes out also in the saying about the sparrows. St. 
Paul has been accused — but unjustly — of overreach- 
ing himself in the figure (Rom. xi. 17ff.) of the 
wild branch grafted on the cultivated olive. The 
reproach is groundless, because St. Paul is there 

' Hermes, 25 (1890) p. 17 tf. 

' Bevue numisiuatique, 1900, p. 429 ff. 


bent on demonstrating something that is really 
against nature ; but St. Paul, the inhabitant of the 
city, had not the grand simplicity of Jesus, the child 
of the country, in his attitude to nature, or he would 
never have written (1 Cor. ix, 9), with expectation 
of a negative answer, "Doth God take care for 
oxen ? " Jesus grew up among country people, who 
Uved with their animals and felt for them : the ox 
and the ass, as we know from pictures in the cata- 
combs, were early placed beside the manger-cradle 
of the child Christ, and the popular instinct that 
borrowed them from Isaiah i. 3, and still speaks to 
us from those pictures, was right. Jesus was in His 
true element in the market-place, watching a poor 
woman counting her coppers to see if she could 
still take five or ten sparrows home with her. Poor, 
miserable little creatures, fluttering there, such num- 
bers of them, in the vendors' cages ! A great many 
can be had for a very small sum, so trifling is their 
value. And yet each one of them was loved by 
the Heavenly Father. How much more will God 
care for man, whose soul is worth more than the 
whole world ! 

While the papyri from the villages and small 
towns of Egypt introduce us indirectly to the 
characteristic civilisation of the synoptic gospels, the 
rediscovered culture of the cities of Asia Minor, 
Greece, and Southern Italy shows us rather the back- 
ground of St. Paul's missionary labours. 

Even Pompeii, although St. Paul probably never 
walked its lanes, is extraordinarily instructive. It not 
only furnishes us with texts ; it has, by its peculiar 
fate, been itself preserved with aU the actuality of 
petrifaction, and we may regard it as a t5rpical 
town. "Such was the actual appearance of a city 



of Campania at the time when the Emperors Nero, 
Vespasian, Titus ruled the world of their day." 
This remark about Pompeii was made by Friedrich 
von Duhn,^ under whose masterly guidance I was 
privileged to visit the place, gathering new and lasting 
impressions ; and I would add, speaking in terms of 
the New Testament : Such was the appearance of a 
small Hellenistic town in the West in the time when 
St. Paul wrote at Corinth his letter to the Romans, 
his heart fuU of thoughts of the West, which began 
for him with Italy.^ Besides the indescribably valu- 
able general impression, there are plenty of striking 
details. The Pompeian inscriptions HRISTIAN (?) 
and Sodoma Gomora have given rise to a well-known 
controversy.' In the MaceUum * at Pompeii we can 
imagine to ourselves the poor Christians bujdng 
their modest pound of meat in the Corinthian 
MaceUum (1 Cor. x. 25), with the same life-like 
reaUty with which the Diocletian maxiihum tariff 
called up the picture of the GaUlean woman pur- 
chasing her five sparrows. How full the wall- 
inscriptions are of popular wit and popular coarseness ! 
What an abyss of degradation in the higher classes 
opens beneath us when the obscene Pompeian 
bronzes, costly in material and execution, are shown 
in the Naples Museum ! One single example of a 

' Pompeji eine hellenisUsohe Stadt in Italien (Aus Natur und Geisteswelt 
114), Leipzig, 1906, p. 24. This is an excellent introduction. The large works 
on Pompeii are easily accessible. 

' Paul obviously divided his world into two halves : the eastern half 
stretched "from Jerusalem unto Illyricum" (Rom. xv. 19). What was under- 
stood by " Illyricum " in the Imperial age is shown \>j WUhelm "Weber, Unter- 
miehungen zur Gesoliichte dss Kaisers Hadrianus, Leipzig, 1907, p. 55. 

' Of. A. Earnack, Die MisHon und Ansbreitung des Christentwns in den 
ersten drei JaMiimderten? 11., Leipzig, 1906, p. 74, and E. Nestle, Zeitaohrift 
fur die neutestamentliche Wissensohaft, 5 (1904) p. 168, where other possible 
direct witnesses to Judaism and Christianity in Pompeii are mentioned. 

* I.C. " shambles," " meat-market." 


contribution to our knowledge of the New Testament 
from Pompeii may be given here in more detail.^ 
In the Revelation of St. John (xiii. 18) we read :— 

« Let him that hath understanding, count the number 
of the beast: for it is the number of a man, and his number 
is. Six hundred three score and six." (Some ancient 
authorities read 616 instead of 666.) 

Scientific commentators are probably by this time 
agreed that the name to be "counted" must be 
found by " gematria," i.e. we must look for a name 
the letters of which, taken separately in their ordinary 
values as numerals and added together, will make 
up the sum of 666 or 616. Now it has been generally 
assumed by exegetists hitherto that gematria was 
a specifically Jewish form of the numerical riddle, 
and therefore attempts have often been made, 
especially in recent times, to solve the number 666 
or 616 by means of the Hebrew alphabet. As a 
matter of fact, however, the interchange of numbers 
for words and words for numbers was not unknown 
to the ancient Greeks, as even Greek lexicons ^ tell 
us. The patristic writers, in so far as they attempt 
to solve the riddle with the Greek alphabet, show 
that such numerical puzzles were not entirely foreign 
to the Greek world. From Pompeii, however* we 
learn that they were current among the people at 
the very time in which the New Testament was 
being written. A. SogUano* has published graffiti 
^(wall-scribbUngs) from Pompeii, i.e. not later in 

' Cf. Die Christliohe Welt, 17 (1903) col. 746 f. 

^ S.v. I(r6fri(pas. H. D[elehaye], in the Analeota Bollandiana, 27, p. 443, refers 
to Perdrizet, Bevoe des §tudes grecques, 17 (1904) pp. 330-360. 

" Isopsepha Fompeiana, Eendiconti della Eeale Acoademia dei Linoei, 10 
<1901) pp. 256-259. An extract is given in' the Wochenschrift fur klassisohe 
Philologie, 19 (1902) col. 52. 


date than 79 a.d., one example of which is as 
follows : — 

'Afiepifivoi ifwrjadnr] 'Apfio- 
via<; TTJi IBiai «(ii)/»ta(s) eV 
ar/adw fji; 6 api6fw<; fie' (or 
dXe') Tov Ka\ov ovo/jLaro^ [cf. 
James ii. 7]. 

Amerimnus thought upon 
his lady Harmonia ^ for gool 
The number of her honourable ' 
name is 45 (or 1035). 

Another example reads : — 

^tXw 57? apiO/jbo's tf>fie'. I I love her whose number is 54fii: 

These graffiti, in date not far removed from the 
Revelation of St. John, certainly suggest new riddles, 
but they also establish, besides those already pointed 
out, the following facts : — 

(1) They are concerned with names of persons, 
which names for some reason or other are to be 

(2) The name was concealed by resolAdng it into 
a number. In all probability single letters were 
given their usual values as numerals and then added 
together. ^ 

(3) The similar numerical riddle in the Revelation 
would not necessarily seem Semitic, i.e. foreign, to 
the men of the Greek-speaking world. Examples of 
such playing with numbers have been found on 
inscribed stones^ of the Imperial period at Per- 
gamum, which was one of the cities of the Apoca- 
lypse (Rev. ii. 12 flf.). Quite recently Franz BUcheler* 
has proved how widespread the habit was at that 
time, and a passage in Suetonius {Nero, 39), hitherto 

' This name is probably only bestowed playfully by the writer on his 
mistress ; her real name is bidden in the number. [For the whole sentence 
cf. LXX Neh. v. 19, xiii. 31. Tb.] 

' Cf. Die Insclvriften von Pergamon, Nos. 333, 339, 587. The Pompeian 
graffiti are, however, more valuable, because more popular. 

" Bheinisches Museum fiir Fhilologie, New Series, 61 (1906) p. 307 f. I owe 
this reference to Wilhelm Weber. 


obscured by false conjectures, has been cleared up 
by his briUiant discovery that the name "Nero" is 
Jhere resolved numerically into " matricide." 

jglf In solving the apocalyptic numbers 616 and 
^66, occurring in a Greek book, it is not only not 
unfeasible to start from the Greek alphabet,^ it is in 
^ct the most obvious thing to do. 

In any case the graffiti at Pompeii bring the Book 
of Mysteries a little bit nearer to the Hellenistic 
world — the world in which it originated, but from 
-which the exegetists have often divided it by an all 
too deep gulf, although in language and coloration 
it shows clearly the reflection of that world. 

A visit to Pompeii and the study of its records are 
most excellent means of supplementing one's Eastern 
impressions, gathered from moderately sized towns 
of Asia Minor, such as Magnesia on the Maeander, 
or Priene, and deepened by the magnificent publica- 
tions ^ of the inscriptions and other discoveries. The 
same is true of Hierapolis ^ and many smaller towns 
of Asia.* 

A good deal is also known about the civilisation of 

' If I may here venture to propose a solution, 616 ( = Kaiirap Beis, " Caesar 
god ") is the older secret number with which the Jews branded the worship of 
the emperor. 666 is perhaps a Christian adaptation of the Jewish number 
to bring it into (subordinate) harmony with 888 (= 'Iijo-oOs, •' Jesus"). 

' For Magnesia on the Maeander, which I visited on 15 April, 1906, see 
p. 12, n. 3 above, and Thieme's book (p. 17, n. 3 above). For Priene, which I saw 
under the guidance of Theodor Wiegand on 16 April, 1906, of. p. 12, n. 4 above, 
and Ziebarth, KuUia-Mlder, p. 50 ff. The early Christian " house-ohuroh " at 
Priene is of great interest, of. Priene, p. 480 f . 

» Cf. p. 12, n. 6 above. 

' Cf . pp. 12, 14 above. To the Austrian researches there named we may add : 
Eudolf Heberdey and Adolf Wilhelm, Keisen in Kilikien ausgefuhrt 1891 und 
1892, Denksohriften der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philo- 
sophisoh-historische Classe, 44 Band (1896), 6 Abhandlung; also Eudolf 
Heberdey and Ernst Ealinka, Bericht uber zwei Keisen im sudwestlichen 
Kleinasien [1894 and 1895], ibid. 45 Band (1897), 1 Abhandlung. 


the islands in the Imperial age. The islands of the 
sea between Ephesus and Corinth were not outside 
the sphere of St. Paul's missionary labours. There 
are scholars who, in the 16th chapter of Romans, 
assume with the utmost calmness wholesale migra- 
tions of poor Christians from Asia to Rome,^ and 
who make the slave Onesimus mentioned in Philemon 
run over from Colossae to Rome or Caesarea, as if it 
were something quite ordinary ; and yet these same 
scholars regard a journey of St. Paul from Ephesus 
to Crete as wildly improbable. But the islands were 
easier to get at than many towns in the interior of 
Asia Minor : the hst of perils encountered by Paul 
the traveller in 2 Cor. xi. 23 ff. shows us that 
travelling by land was fraught with great difficulties 
for a poor man.^ From our authorities we must 
certainly assume that St. Paul made many more 
voyages than we are now able to determine in detail. 
He had suffered shipwreck three times already before 
the Second Epistle to the Corinthians was des- 
patched ' ; and the Pastoral Epistles also mention 
voyages of the apostle and his companions, of which 

' The assumption breaks down at once from the fact that Aquila and 
Priscilla were at Ephesus when the First Epistle to the Corinthians was written 
(1 Cor. xvi. 19), and that their house was a centre for church meetings. Some 
six months later the Epistle to the Romans was written, so that within that 
short time Aquila and Priscilla must have not only gone to Rome, but also 
have got together again at once the church meeting in their house mentioned 
in Bom. xvi. 5. — To describe the personal names in Kom. xvi. as specifically 
Soman on the strength of inscriptions found in the city of Some is about as 
safe as to describe Wilhelm, Friedriah, LuUe as specifically Berlin names 
because they are found on Berlin tombstones. The names referred to are 
found swarming in inscriptions, papyri, and ostraca all over the Mediterranean 
world. — Least appropriate of all to a letter to Rome is the passage 
Bom. xvi. 17-20. 

* The " perils of rivers, perils of robbers " (2 Cor. xi. 26) have remained the 
same to the present day, as we were able to convince ourselves in April 1906, 
riding through the swamps of the Maeander, and next day in the house of a 
Greek who had been shot by robbers immediately before our arrival. 

= 2 Cor. xi. 25. 

Fig. 43.— "Angel "'inscription from the Island 
of Thera. Gravestone, Trnperial Period. Now in 
the Thera Museum. From a photograph by Dr. 
Hugo Ketrer. 

[p. 279 


nothing more is kno^^m, the principal one being a 
voyage of St. Paul to Crete.^ This last reference 
points at least to the early estabUshment of Christi- 
anity in the islands.' Even if it is not yet certain 
whether the "angel" inscriptions from Thera are 
Christian,' the islands would deserve our attention 
for at least one reason, viz, that the inscriptions 
found there furnish a quantity of valuable information 
bearing on the history of the "New Testament" 
vocabulary.* Especially noteworthy are the inscrip- 
tions of Delos,* Thera,® and Cos.^ 

Immeasurable, next, is the abundance of light, 
ever increasing from year to year, that has been shed 

' Titus i. 5. 

2 Cf . Harnaok, JDie MisHon vmd Ambreitimg des Chrigtentums,^ II. p. 195 f. 

' Cf. the stimulating conjectures of Hans Achelis, Spuren des Urchristentums 
auf den griechisohen Inseln 1 Zeitschrift fiir die neutestamentliche Wissen- 
sohaft, 1 (1900) p. 87 ff. I saw the aTVcXos-inscriptions on 18 May, 1906, in 
the Thera Museum. Many of them bear a rosette 0, the central lines of 
which look like a cross, but are not a Christian cross (on this rosette see 
B. Herzog, Eoisehe Forgchtmgen vmd Fvmde, p. 90, n. 1). As Friedrich von 
Duhn also remarked on that occasion, only one, No. 952, bears instead of $ a. 
rosette with a p-cross. I am indebted to the kindness of Dr. Hugo Kehrer for 
a photograph (Fig. 43). But I consider it highly probable that the rosette 
was given its Christian character subsequently. On 14 May, 1906, in the New 
Museum at Epidaurus, I saw a Christian rosette just like this on an ancient 
stone inscribed to Asclepius. Christian symbols are often found on stones of 
pre-Christian age. — In considering the question of the age of the Christianity 
of the islands two things must not be forgotten : the older Jewish settlements 
and the opportunities for intercourse between the islands. There were Jewish 
congregations in Crete, and how near Thera is to Crete I first learnt from 
personal observation : from the heights of Thera we saw in the south, where 
sky and deep blue sea joined, the snowy peaks of Ida and the other mountains 
of Crete. The preliminary conditions for a Christian mission from island to 
island were therefore very favourable. — I may add that in the monastery o£ 
St. Elias in Thera I saw a number of Biblical and patristic Greek MS8., the 
existence of which is, I believe, not generally known. Cf. the account (not 
quite exhaustive) of them given in the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 33 (1908) col. 491, 
by Samuel Brandt, who was travelling with me. There are also patristic 
M8S. in the Museum at Candia in Crete, as I was told by the director there. 
Dr. Hatzidakis. I had no time to inspect them, but I obtained the titles 
afterwards. ' Cf . the examples in Chapter II. above. 

" Cf. p. 18, n. 5 above. 

' Cf. p. 13, n. 1 above, and Ziebarth's sketch, KuUurUlder, p. 16 ff. 

' Cf. p, 13, n. 2 above. 


upon the great New Testament cities of Asia Minor,^ 
illuminating the mission-field proper of Primitive 
Christianity. The spaciousness and boldness of their 
proportions, the strength and grace of their architec- 
ture, the equable beauty of their Graeco-Roman 
works of art (from the marble miracles of masters in 
sculpture down to the humblest of the terra-cottas 
and small bronzes), the old places of worship, vener- 
able still in ruins — ^whoever has seen, and seeing 
has reanimated, all this in ever royal Pergamum,^ in 
the solemn and oppressive gravity of Ephesus,' and 
in the silent and but recently desecrated fairy-world 
of Miletus-Didyma,* wUl have acquired, even if all 

' Cf. on the whole subject Sir W. M. Eamsay, Pauline Cities, London, 1907. 
[One of the latest discoveries, announced by Sir W. M. Bamsay's fellow- 
traveller, W. M. Calder, in The Times, 11 Nov., 1909, throws light on the 
conduct of the natives of Lyoaonia who called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul 
Mercury, Acts xiv. 11 S.. An inscription of the 1st cent. A.D. (?) found at 
Baluklaon, about a day's ride south of Lystra, records the dedication of a 
statue of Mercury to Jupiter by men with Lycaonian names, thus proving 
the existence of a local cult of these deities, to which Ovid's location of the 
story of Baucis and Philemon {Metamiorphoses viii. 620-625) also points. Tk.] 

' For Pergamum cf. p. 12, n. 2 and p. 17 above. On Good Friday, 1906, I had 
the advantage of seeing Pergamum under the guidance of Wilhelm Dorpfeld. 
Actual inspection of the place suggests that " Satan's throne " (Eev. ii. 13) can 
only have been the altar of Zeus ; no other shrine of the hill-city was visible 
to such a great distance and could therefore rank so typically as the repre- 
sentative of Satanic heathendom, 

' For Bphesus cf. p. 11, n. 2 above. It is no longer difficult of access and 
well repays the theological visitor. We inspected the Austrian excavations, 
under Dr. Keil's guidance, on Easter Sunday, 1906. Though one cannot see the 
house inhabited by the mother of Jesus, in spite of the already highly reputed, 
modern cult of Panagia Kapuli (cf. an article by me in Die Christliche Welt, 
20 [1906] col. 873 ff.), yet there are the tragic remains of the temple of 
Artemis (Acts xix. 27), the well-preserved theatre (Acts xix. 29), the Stadium 
in which St. Paul fought with beasts (if 1 Cor. xv. 32 is to be taken literally), 
and important remains of early Christian architecture (the best, perhaps, still 
uuexcavated). And above all, one obtains an ineradicable impression of the 
greatness and distinctiveness of the most important city in the world, after 
Jerusalem, in the early history of Christianity — the city of St. Paul and 
St. John the Evangelist. 

* For Miletus-Didyma, see p. 12, n. 5 and p. 13, n. 4 above. We visited 
these places under the guidance of Theodor Wiegand, 16-18 April, 1906. 
Some Milesian matter wiU be found in the Appendices. 


the details were to escape him, a permanent possession 

— the recognition of the grandeur of that world of 

which a Paul had ventured to say that it was passing 

^way.^ Was this remark of the artisan missionary 

dictated by the futile envy of one excluded from it ? 

or did it come from the consciousness of an inner 

power superior even to that world ? And the quiet 

little Book containing the simple evidences of that 

power — does it not seem strangely great when we 

open it among the ruins of Ephesus ? greater than 

the whole Bibliotheca Christiana of after times with 

its frequent sins of prolixity ? 

Some traditional Unes in the picture of the ancient 
world would have to be altered if we were to try 
to-day to depict that world after a study of its own 
records.^ Most of us, probably, at some time or other, 
have heard that the world to which the Gospel message 
came was thoroughly corrupt. Many writers have 
in good faith painted the situation in the Roman 
Imperial period in the darkest colours ; and in cases 

' 1 Cor. vii. 31. 

' The best works available to theologians are : Theodor Mommsen, Bomisohe 
iGesoMchte, Vol. V. ; Ludwig Friedlander, Da/rgtclVwugen aus der StUengeschioMe 
Boms in der Zeit von 4-'<''3i'^i^ ^> ^^^^ Ausgam,g der Awtoni/iie, 3 vols., 6th 
■edition, Leipzig, 1888-1890 (in the 7th edition, the notes are unacoovintably 
omitted) [Eng. trans, by L. A. Magnus and J. H. Freese, London, 1908 etc., 
in progress] ; and especially Paul Wendland, Die hellenistiseh-rmrmche Kultw 
■im, ihreii BezieJmngen zu Jvdentvm vmd Christentum (Handbuoh zum Neuen 
Testament, I. 2), Tubingen, 1907. The only thing I miss in this excellent 
•work is a stronger emphasis on the popular elements in the culture of the 
Imperial age. The background sketched by Wendland is more suitable to 
that stage of Christianity in which it was becoming literary and theological. 
W. Staerk, Neittestamewtliche ZeitgeicMchte, 2 small volumes in Goschen's 
series, Leipzig, 1907, gives a popular and well-ordered summary of recent 
research. — Theologians must on no account neglect the investigations of 
Ludwig Mitteis in the first part of his Jieichsreoht wnd Vol&srecht in den 
ostliehen Proviazen des romisohen Kaiierreiehs, Leipzig, 1891, entitled "Die 
hellenistische (cf. p. vii) Civilisation und ihre Grenzen." Though written 
before the publication of most of the papyri and ostraoa, this book was 
•epoch-making in its use of the non-literary texts which were known dovm 
ta that time. 


where there was really nothing but light to be seen, 
people have been only too often inclined to call the 
virtues of the heathen brilliant vices. 

This dark picture of the ancient world is due, I 
think, to two main facts : it was drawn from the 
literary records of the age, and it was influenced by 
the polemical exaggerations of zealous Fathers of the 
Church. St. Paul must not be held responsible for 
it ; in spite of his feeling of superiority to this; 
transitojry world and its hollow wisdom, and in spite 
of his knowledge of the corruption of a great city,' he 
did not overlook the light places, and he was never a 
mere advocate abusing his opponent. It was other- 
wise with the later champions of the faith, when the 
world had declared war to the knife against it. 
They had to struggle against the world outside and 
the world in their own camp, and it is not difficult, 
to understand their passionateness and to pardon 
their heated exaggerations. 

But the Christian historian of to-day ought to be 
just in his judgments — because he is a Christian,, 
and, if not for that reason, then because he is. 
entered on the roU of the religion that came out 
victorious in the struggle. At any rate he ought 
to notice which lines are caricatured. And it ought 
to be equally clear to him that the merely literary 
records of an age are insufficient to give him a. 
reliable picture.^ As a general rule, literature is a 
reflex of upper-class opinions. Doubt, denial, satiety,, 
frivolity always proclaim themselves much more 
loudly in the upper than in the vigorous and un- 
spoiled lower classes. A lower class that begins to 
doubt and scoffs is generally copying the educated 

' Bom. i. 24fE. 

^ Of. pp. 3, 4 above. 


classes ; it always lags some few dozen years behind 
the class above it, that amount of time being 
required for the impurities to filter down. Then, 
however, purification takes place automatically ; the 
giant body contains its own means of healing. 

The Roman Imperial period of literature is, as a, 
matter of fact, rich in notes of negation and despair ; 
the luxury of the potentates, with its refinements, 
in the cultivation of obscenity and brutaUty, certainly 
does give the age a dark look. But even in the 
literature forces of a different kind are heard and 
felt. The popular writers on ethics in the narrower 
sense, to whom Georg Heinrici ^ so insistently refers,, 
served positively to prepare the way for Christianity ;> 
but, not to mention them, what an attractive 
personality, taken aU round, is Plutarch — and there 
are many other good names besides his that could be 
mentioned in the cultured and powerful class. And 
then, when we descend into the great masses and 
listen to them at their work, in the fields, in the 
workshop, on the Nile boat and the Roman corn- 
ships, in the army and at the money-changer's, 
table, — he must be blind who cannot see that many 
were leading useful, hard-working, dependable lives, 
that family feeling and friendship bound poor people 
together and strengthened them, that the blessings, 
of an old and comparatively estabhshed civilisation 
were felt in the smallest villages, and, chiefly, that 
a deeply religious strain went through that entire 

3. This brings us to that feature of the world 
contemporary with Primitive Christianity which is. 

' Chiefly in his various commentaries on the Epistles to the Corinthians 
and in his semasiologioal analysis of the Sermon on the Mount (Vol ni of 
his Beitrage, Leipzig, 1905). v • • 


for us, of course, the most important, viz. its religious 
position. The new texts are here extraordinarily- 
productive, for a large proportion of them are of a 
directly religious nature. There are the innumerable 
-epitaphs, in poetry and prose ; there are prayers and 
dedications, temple laws and sacrificial regulations; 
there are private letters with a religious colouring, 
horoscopes, amulets, cursing tablets and magical 
books ; there are oracles and thankful accounts of 
deliverance from dire periP or of miraculous cures 
at the great shrines.^ And if any one doubts the 
words of these texts — setting aside the assurances 
of intercession in the papyrus letters as mere phrases, 
and the reports of cures as simply so much sacerdotal 
fraud — perhaps figures will appeal to him. Let him 
calculate the sums of money that were devoted to 
religious purposes in the Imperial period on the 
evidence of dedicatory inscriptions and the papyri ' — 
from the monster presentations to great temples 
immortaUsed in marble splendour, to the drachmae 
and obols of the Isis collections for which a receipt 
was issued to the Egyptian peasant on a miserable 

Were it possible to collect before us, in all their 
ishades of variety, the original documents attesting 
the piety of the GentUe world ih the age of the 
New Testament, and could we then with one 
rapid glance survey them all, we should feel as 
St. Paul did at Athens. After passing through the 

' JS.g. letter No. 9 above, p. 168 S. 

2 S.ff. p. 132 above. 

' There is much material in a book, excellent also in other respects, by 
"Walter Otto, Priester imd Tempel im,heUemstUehen Agypten. Bin Beitrag zar 
Kulturgesohlchte des Hellenismus, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1905 and 1908. A portion 
-of Vol. II. w^as printed as a Breslau " Habilitationsschrif t," entitled Die 
•wirtsohaftUohe Lage und die Bildung der Priester im hellenistisohen Agypten, 
Leipzig, 1907. * Cf. p. 105 above. 


streets of that one city he was fain to acknowledge 
that the men he had seen were "extremely religious." ' 

The impression is deepened when we gaze actually 
upon some of the great places of worship which were 
still m repute in the Hellenistic period of Roman 
history. We experience over again in all their 
complexity the feeUngs of the ancient devotee, so 
far as they were determined by the prevailing 
atmosphere of the sacred place itself. It is possible,, 
of course, unconsciously to read something modern 
into our interpretation of the temple walls and 
ordered columns rising from the debris. Above all, 
the imposing solitude which usually surrounds us^ 
as we stand beside these ruins to-day may easily 
mislead us into giving a false touch to the picture we 
piece together for ourselves. But the great things, 
cannot be sophisticated : sky, and sea, and cliiF, 
gorge and plain, fig-tree and olive grove, and over 
aU the frolic strife of sunhght and shadow — these 
are eternally the same. And it cannot be altogether 
wrong to assume that the feelings which come over 
us to-day ^ on the site of the ancient shrines were 
experienced also by the pious men of old who dis- 
covered and consecrated, settled and tended these 
places. AU the effects come under one of two main 
heads : either the beauty and loveliness of the sacred 
place enlarge the heart to solemn devotion, or else 
the grandeur and the vastness make it sink shudder- 
ing before the terrible and the sublime. 

There is Olympia, with the sprightly charm of what 
might almost be a German hiU-landscape — a place of 
joyous festal celebration. There is Epidaurus, the 

' Kwri TiivTa (is SeurtScuiioveirHpovs, Acts xvii. 22. The A.V. "too snper- 
Btitiotis " is an incorrect translation, found also in Luther's Bible. 

' The following is a sketch of my own impressions in April and May, 1906^ 
on ■visiting the places named. 


goal of sick pilgrims, in its green forest solitude 
remote from all the world. And Eleusis, above the 
silent bay bounded by the cornfields and olive planta- 
tions of the plain and by the cliffs of Salamis ; — the 
■spirit of this sanctuary is rendered with marvellous 
feeling in the most deeply religious work of ancient 
sculpture that I have ever seen, the Eleusinian 
Triptolemus relief in the Museum at Athens. 

There Corinth lies, above the gleaming beauty of 
ber rock-crowned gulf, riot unlike Eleusis, only vaster, 
severer, more mascuUne, possessing the oldest temple 
on Greek soil, and overhung by the defiant mass of 
the Acrocorinthus. There in her pride, and strength, 
and beauty the Acropolis of Athens sits enthroned 
above the crowded PoUs, bearing sway over the sea 
and the islands, and calling up feelings of patriotic 

And then the island shrines : the temple of Aphaea 
in Aegina, on a steep wooded height, with wide 
■expanses of sea visible through the tops of evergreen 
trees ; lovely Delos in the circle of her humbler 
sisters ; Thera, opening up to us from primeval peaks, 
still sacred to this day, the beauty of sea and sunshine 
stretching away into the blue limitless distance. 
Finally the great seats of worship on the coast of 
Asia Minor : Pergamum, Ephesus, and Miletus- 

But nothing can approach the shrine of Delphi in 
dignity and vastness. The giants of the prime whose 
hands piled those frowning mighty walls of rock, the 
Phaedriads,^ have here created for the sacred precinct 
a background of indescribable solemnity, not even 
the extravagant profusion of costly votive offerings 

' [Steep rocks on one of the peaks of Parnassus, 800 feet above Delphi 
3,000 feet above sea-level. Xb.] 


in bronze and marble can have banished that solemnity 
in ancient times. And, on the highroad, if you let 
the eye stray downward from the bare rocks opposite 
into the valley, the stream that you see there far 
below is a stream— or rather, sea— of gloomy, silent 
olive woods : naught save the distant streak of some 
bay on the Corinthian Gulf, lit up for a moment as 
it catches a glimpse of the sun, gives to the heroic 
outlines of this awesome picture a kindlier touch. 

The inspection of all these venerable and solemn 
places, their buildings and their sculptures, increases 
our knowledge of ancient piety beyond what we 
know from the inscriptions and papyri. This is 
chiefly because in those texts — one need only recall 
the magical texts, for instance — it is the coarser forms 
of religion, strongly suggestive of " heathenism," that 
come prominently to the front. If we did not know 
it before, we learn now from this inspection that, even 
at the time of the great turning-point in religious 
history, there were various levels of piety. Just as 
in museums we see the neolithic bowl side by side 
with the masterpiece of Attic vase-painting, so in 
Hellenism we find on the one hand vestiges of primi- 
tive folklore, surviving in secret corners and at cross- 
roads under cover of the night, and on the other hand 
temples bathed in the streaming sunlight, and votive 
gifts which nothing but a high religious culture could 
have created. And if we. could awaken again to life 
the choirs that sang in those temples and are now for 
ever silenced, we should probably be still further con- 
vinced of the refinement of that culture. The earUest 
Christians certainly appreciated the mature beauty of 
the reUgious art of the world surrounding them, as 
we know from the comparatively unpolished writer 
of the Apocalypse, A good deal of the colouring of 


his visions is obviously derived from the religious art 
and usage ^ of Hellenistic Asia Minor ; but he shared 
the popular liking for strong effects, and it was 
certainly the more startling shades that he adopted, 

4. Amid the tangle of religions in the Hellenistic 
world of the Mediterranean — this must at least be 
hinted in this connexion — certain great Unes become 
clearer and clearer, chiefly as a consequence of the 
discoveries of inscriptions : we see the other religions 
that competed with Christianity because they were 
themselves missionary religions. The great problems 
suggested merely by the new material already pub- 
lished are by no means all solved or even attacked 
yet,^ but we can already reconstruct with great 
certainty the religious map of the world in the 
Imperial period,^ at least at some of the main 

To take the chief instance, Greek Judaism, the 
mighty forerunner of Christianity as a world-religion, 
yielded up its hidden inscriptions; papyri and the 
evidence of Uterary writers did the rest, — and so 

' Cf. for instance my little essay on " White Robes and Palms " in Bihel- 
stvMen, p. 285 ft. ; BiMe Studies, p. 368 S. Much HeUeoistic material for the 
background of the various Apocalypses will be found in Albrecht Dieterich, 
Nehyia, Beitrage zv/r BrkVdrv/ng der neuentdeokten Petrusapoltalypse, Leipzig, 
1893 ; and Georg Heinrici, Der UUeransche Charakter der neutestamemtUchen- 
Sclunften, Leipzig, 1908, p. 87 f. 

' The older Egyptian texts, doubtless containing much undiscovered material 
of importance, ought to be examined, and the secularisation of the Egyptian 
divinities has not yet been investigated. What a prospect one single inscrip- 
tion opens up — the Isis inscription from los, p. 135 ff. above. Adolf Eusoh, JDe 
Serapide et leide in Graecia eultis, a Berlin dissertation, 1906, under- 
estimates its importance as evidence of the vforship of Isis. — Meritorious, 
if not always convincing, is B. Keitzenstein's Poimandres : Studien zur 
griechisch-agyptischen und friih-christlichen Literatur, Leipzig, 1904. It 
investigates the new religious formations in Egypt, represented especially by 
the Hermetic writings. 

' A good survey is given by Franz Cumont, Zes Religions Oriemtales dans le 
Paganime Bomain, Paris, 1907. 


Emil Schiirer ^ was able to write his very full sketch 
of the Jews of the Dispersion. 

Franz Cumont's work on Mithras ^ is monumental, 
not only in the sense of being written from the 
monuments ; but there are also smaller investigations, 
such as Alfred von Domaszewski's on the religion of 
the Roman army ^ or Hugo Hepding's on Attis,* which 
would have been impossiblewithout modern epigraphy. 
Finally there remain to be mentioned the important 
additions to our knowledge due to the light that has 
been thrown upon the worship of the sovereign, 
particularly emperor-worship, in antiquity — a form 
of cult whose importance is becoming more and more 
obvious in the religious history of the Graeco-Roman 
period. Comprehensive works have lately been 
published by E. Kornemann^ and J. Toutain.^ I 
hope to be able to show later on in this chapter how, 
considered in contrast with that of emperor-worship, 

' GescMchte desjiidischen Volltes, III.' pp. 1-135 ; of. also Harnaok, Die Missimi 
vmd Ausbreitimg des Christentums, 1? pp. 1-16, and Theodore Reinach, article 
Diaspora, in Tlie Jewish Aeyclqpedia, IV., New York aud London, 1903, 
p. 559 fif. 

" Textes et Mommients figwes relatifs auae Mysteres de Mitfira, 2 vols., 
Bruxelles, 1899, 1896. Two small epitomes have appeared, entitled Les 
Mystires de Mithra^ Bruxelles, 1902, and Die Mystei-ien des Mithra. Eiu 
Beitrag zur Keligionsgeschichte der romisohen Kaiserzeit. Autorisierte 
deutsohe tjbersetzung von Georg Gehrich, Leipzig, 1903. — ^Albrecht Dieterioh, 
Mtw Mithraslitwgie erldutert, Leipzig, 1903, contains besides the material 
relating to the religion of Mithras (on which see Cnmont, Kevue de rinstnic- 
tion pnblique en Belgique, 47, p. 1, and Dieterich's reply, Archiv fiir Eeligions- 
wissenschaft, 8, p. 501) a number of other investigations bearing on our subject. 
Dieterich had previously published a survey entitled "Die Eeligion des 
Mithras " in the Bonner Jahrbiicher [ Jahrbiicher des Vereins von Altertums- 
freundeu im Rheinland], Part 108, p. 26 fE. Cf. also Harnack, Die Mission und 
Aushreitung del Ckristentums, U.' p. 270 ffi. 

' Die Religion des romisohen Seeres, Trier, 1895 ; offprint from the West- 
deutsche Zeitschrift fiir Geschichte und Knust, 14 (1895). 

' Attis scin-e My then und sein Kult, Giessen, 1903. 

'^ Zur Gesehiohte der antilten Herrseherhulte, Beitrage zur alten Geschichte 
[Klio], 1, pp. 51-146. 

" Les cultes patens dam V empire romavn. Premiere partie,. tome I. Les 
cultes officiels ; les cultes remains et gr6co-romains, Paris, 1907. 



much of the terminology of the earliest Christian 
worship acquires once more its original distinctive 

5. One other thing the student of Primitive 
Christianity owes to the new texts. It is something 
to have perceived the religious feelings that animated 
the great world contemporary with the New Testa- 
ment, and to have learnt to know its forms of 
worship, but much greater is the fact that ancient 
souls, seemingly lost to us for ever, have leapt into 
hfe once more. 

It has always been characteristic of Christianity 
from the beginning, that, as it lived in the souls of 
individuals, so it influenced the individual soul. 
Christianity is in the very front rank as regards the 
discovery and culture of individual souls. Its oldest 
documents are without exception reflexes of souls. 
What a soul is reflected in the words of Jesus I 
What souls has He depicted with a few touches in 
His parables and words of disputation. And St. 
Paul's letters are soul-pictures in such high degree 
that their writer is probably the best-known man of 
the early Empire: not one of his celebrated con- 
temporaries has left us such frank confessions. But 
to understand the progress of the new faith through 
the world we must know the spiritual constitution of 
the men from whom the missionaries came and to 
whom the message and pastoral care of the missionaries 
were addressed. 

That these were men of the non-literary lower and 
middle classes has been so often indicated in these 
pages from a variety of points of view, that I should 
have no objection if this thesis were described as a main 
feature of my book. Some httle time ago there was 


given us an admirable aid towards dividing off these 
classes from the upper class which, being possessed 
of power, wealth, or education, is the most seen and 
heard in the Hterature of the Imperial age and else- 
where. Under the auspices of the Berlin Academy 
of Sciences three scholars, Elimar Klebs, Hermann 
Dessau, and Paul von Rohden, presented us with a 
three-volume work,^ Prosopogi'aphia Imperii JRomani 
Saec. I. II. Ill, uniting in one great alphabetical 
catalogue 8,644 men and women who are known from 
literature, inscriptions, etc., in the three centuries 
from Augustus to Diocletian, which of course mean 
to us the primitive period of Christianity. Turning 
the pages of these volumes we find among the men 
of the Imperial age the deified favourite Antinous, 
but not John the Baptist ; Apollonius of Tyana, 
but not Jesus of Nazareth ; the celebrated robber- 
chief Bulla Felix, but not Paul of Tarsus ; the 
historian Flavins Josephus, but not the Evangelist 
Luke, to say nothing of the vanished souls in the 
lists of salutations in the letters of St. Paul. This 
is no mere accident ; the editors intentionally 
neglected " the endless multitude of plebeians that 
crowd the pages of ecclesiastical and legal writers." ^ 

I wUl not press the sentence ; I wiU not refer 
in confutation of it to the isolated examples of 
insignificant persons who of course have found their 
way into this book of grandees here and there. But 
one thing I will say : That endless multitude, as it 
is rightly called, which seems too big to be compre- 

' Berolinl, 1897-1898. 

' Klebs in the Praefatio to Vol. I. (p. viii), "sed hominum plebelorum 
infinita ilia turba qua soripta ecolesiastlca et auctorum iuris referta sunt 
procvil semota est." In exactly the same way the aristocratic historians of 
the Imperial age are devoid of almost all interest in Christianity in the first 
stages ; and the fact that Jesus and St. Paul are not mentioned by certain 
contemporary writers is admirably accounted for by social history. 


hended historically, and which begins below the upper 
eight-thousand found worthy to be catalogued in 
the Berlin Prosopographia, deserves attention because 
in it Primitive Christianity grew up and expanded. 
One of the greatest pictures in the Revelation drawn 
by one of that multitude and consecrated by the 
tears of those nameless ones shows ^ the "great 
multitude, which no man could number, of all 
nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, 
standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, 
. . . who came out of great tribulation, . . . and 
who shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more." 

And now to-day the new texts have brought 
a wonder to pass. That ancient world of the in- 
significant and the many who hungered and thirsted, 
which seemed to be inaccessible save to the dreamy 
eye of the seer, and hopelessly lost to the scholar, 
now rises up before us in the persons of innumerable 
individuals. They sow grains of wheat once more 
in the furrow blessed by the Nile ; they pay their 
drachmae for tax and impost, duty and rate and 
collection ; they travel by boat, on camels or on 
donkeys to the capital, to fill the halls of justice 
with their quarrels and abuse ; adventurous youths 
climb on board the imperial ships bound for Italy ; 
in silent devotion the survivors observe ancestral 
custom at death and burial. And so it goes on 
from generation to generation, fi-om the days of the 
Septuagint to the gospels and the church-meetings 
of the Pauhne mission, on to Diocletian and the 
baptised Caesars : in the lower stratum there is always 
the same bustle of so many humble individuals 
eating, drinking, sowing, tilling, marrying and given 
in marriage. 

' Rev. vii. 9-17. 


But out of the ceaseless rhythm of wholesale 
existence souls emerge, individual souls, in which 
the scholar may recognise types of ancient personal 
life. The unparalleled value of the papyrus letters 
is this, that they bring before us with all possible 
truth ancient souls and spiritual conditions in the 
non-literary classes. 

What is it that makes these newly discovered 
papyrus letters such splendid evidence of the soul- 
life of the ancients ? 

What literature has to show us in the way of 
isouls is a product of art, often of a high form of 
art, but even then generally only a drawing from 
the model. That which is literary cannot be com- 
pletely naive. We cannot be sure whether it is 
the real face or only a mask of concealment worn 
by a player when the Emperor Hadrian writes these 
verses ^ before his death : — 

" Soul of mine, pretty one, flitting one. 
Guest and partner of my clay. 
Whither wilt thou hie away, — 
Pallid one, rigid one, naked one — 
Never to play again, never to play ? "" 

And the works of the plastic arts ? The marbles 
and bronzes recovered from the ruins of ancient 

' Whether they are genuine I do not know : Eduard Norden (letter, 
3 September, 1908) sees no reason for doubting their authenticity. They 
are found in the Scriptores Sistoriae Augustae, Hadrian, 25 (reo. Peter,' 
p. 27):- 

" Animula vagala blandala 
hospes comesque corporis, 
qnae nunc al)ibis in loca 
pallidnla rigida nndnla 
nee ut soles dabia locos!" 

For the " naked soul " of. for instance St, Paul, 2 Cor. v. 3. [These verses are 
of acknowledged difficulty to translate. Prior, Pope, Byron, and Christina 
Bossetti are amongst those who have essayed the task. The version in the 
text is by Merivale. Tb.] 


cities and from the sea-bed around the coasts are 
certainly not soul-less; but to whom would the 
athlete of Ephesus in the Theseion at Vienna, or 
the youth of Anticythera at Athens, have ever 
revealed his soul? These marvellous presentments 
of the human body so captivate us that we do not 
think of inquiring about their souls until we have 
said farewell to them and the bronzes can no longer 
understand our questioning. Who would venture 
to make the great eyes of the Egyptian mummy- 
portraits speak, or attempt to read the personal 
secrets of even the portrait-busts of the Imperial 
period ? The connoisseur only ventures on hesitating 
attempts at interpretation when he is supported by 
literary tradition.^ 

And the men who speak to us on the inscribed 
stones — do they stand quite naturally before us? 
Are they not in the same publicity as the stone, 
and are not their words calculated for publicity ? We 
could indeed make shift to patch together some 
of their personalities, but we could put no life into 
them. The imperial physician and imperial murderer 
G. Stertinius Xenophon of Cos,* the contemporary 
of St. Paul, is a case in point. The editor of the 
inscriptions of Cos has tried to make him live again 
and has found in him a figure for an historical 
romance ^ ; — a figure, certainly, but no soul. 

Two generations later a Lycian millionaire, 
Opramoas of Rhodiapolis, thrusts himself forward 
with boastful ostentation among the crowd of 
inscriptions from Asia Minor. On the walls of the 

' E.g. Wilhelm Weber, Vntertuehv/ngen zw GeseliieMe des Kaisers Hai/riamMs, 
p. 174 : " A heaviness about the eyes and a reserved and piercing look give 
even to his (Hadrian's) face a peculiarly melancholy stamp." 

' Cf. p. 248 above. 

' Endolf Herzog, Koiteli£ Forschungen und Pmide, p. 189 fE. 


hereon destined for the reception of his mortal body 
we find still to-day nigh upon seventy records which, 
in order that his name might not perish, he engraved 
in marble, immortalising his money benefactions and 
other services, as well as the honours he received from 
emperors, procurators, and municipal associations. 
Thanks principally to modern archaeology ^ this man 
with the full-sounding name has attained his object : 
Opramoas is to-day, at least in a few scholars' 
studies, a sort of celebrity. But where is his soul ? 
So far as it was not identical with his treasure, it 
is not to be found on aU those great marble tablets.^ 
And if we were to receive it fi-om the hand of the 
angel who was sent to demand it of the rich man 
in the night, it would not be a soul that felt at 
home with the poor souls of the New Testament. 

Even where the inscriptions seem to bear a more 
personal note, we do not always find a personal 
manifestation. In the poetical epitaphs, especially, 
there is much that is borrowed and plenty of 
second-hand feehng. It would be rash, for example, 
to say that Chrysogonus of Cos, with his eighty- 
three years, was a great drinker merely on the 
strength of the epigram on his tomb (Figure 44), 
even supposing he was himself responsible for the 

This feeble epigram,^ the metre of which is here 

' Reiten im siidweitlicJien Klemasien, U. pp. 76-135 ; Budolf Heberdey 
Opramoas Inschriften vom Heroon zu Jthodia^olis, Wien, 1897. The inscrip- 
tions extend from 125 to 152 a.d. Heberdey enumerates 69 of them. 

' The Opramoas inscriptions are, however, of great value to us as religious 
history; first in illustration of the powerfully sarcastic parable of the rich fool 
(Luke xli. 16-21) and the other allied types of the " rich man," and secondly 
in contrast with the spirit of Matt. vi. 1-4. 

• Discovered and published by Budolf Herzog, KoUche ForacTiwigen und 
Fvnde, p. 103 ff., No. 163. The greatly reduced facsimile (Fig. 44) is given 
here from Plate VI. 2 by kind permission of the discoverer and his publisher. 


imitated in the translation, dates from the Imperial 
period and runs as follows:— 

oiivofia ^ <(«). Xpva-6- 

'yovoi; Novv<f)(ov ^ 
Xar/at? ivOdSe KeiTa[i] 
iravrl Xeywz/ irapo- 
Sw^ irelve, pXeTn<s 
TO TeXos. 
ir&v fr]. 

One, Chrysogonus hight, lies 

here, of nymphs an adorer. 
Saying to each passer-by, 
"Drink, for thou seest the 

83 years. 

The exhortation to drink in anticipation of 
approaching death is one of the well-known formulae 
of ancient popular morals' (often, no doubt, of 
popular wit), and is by no means rare in epitaphs.* 
We can therefore draw no certain conclusion what- 
ever as to the spiritual constitution of Chrysogonus in 
particular from his epitaph. We know little about 
the old man beyond his name and a cult to which 
he was devoted ; his soul has disappeared for ever. 
The epitaphs of antiquity as a whole are of this 
service, that they reflect for us the emotions of a 
class of men rather than the innermost thoughts of 
individuals. Stones with long metrical inscriptions 
almost provoke us, as we seek for something personal 
behind the ornate forms, to cry sometimes in the 
words of a medieval inscription from Heraclia on 
the Black Sea = :— 

' Should no doubt be Nw^ffli/. 

' 6 irdpoSos, 'Hhe passer-by," " traveller," was hitherto only known in LXX 
2 Sam. xii. 4, Ezek. xvi. 15, 25, and Symmaohus Jer. xiv. 8 ; but it occurs not 
exactly rarely in inscriptions (Herzog, p. 104 f .) and is therefore to be struck 
out of the list of " Biblical" words. The word occurs also in the Inschriften, 
von Priene, No. 311, and there is no need to coniecture 7ropo8[iTo]is. 

' Cf. Isaiah xxii. 13 in the original text and in the interesting LXX transla- 
tion ; then cf. St. Paul's use of the passage in 1 Cor. xv. 82, which is very 
efEeotive in a popular way. ' Herzog, p. 105. 

' Corpus Insoriptionum Graecamm, No. 8748, 13th cent. a.d. : 

I now read [d^ufjos, after J. H. Moulton, The Expository Times, October 
1908, p. 32. 

\ > ^ "■ 

■VS. I m4 

Fig. 44. — Epigram on the Tomb of Chrysogonus of Cos. 
Marble Altar, Imperial Period. Now built into the wall of a 
house in Cos. By permission of Eudolf Herzog and the pub- 
lishing house of Theodor Weicher (Dieterich'sche Verlagsbuoh- 

[p. 296 


" If then the stones cry out, as saith the Word, 
Send forth a shout, thou voiceless, soul-less rock ! " 

But the stones remain dumb : they have preserved 
for us no souls. 

Souls, however, living souls from the great 
perished multitude, good and bad, beautiful and 
ugly, joyful and tremulous, flutter towards us with 
the papyrus letters ^ that have been snatched from 
the rubbish of villages and little towns in Egypt. 
Those who, being vilely deceived in their hopes of 
autograph MSS. of philosophers and poets, cast the 
letters aside as lumber owned by the obscure, will 
fetch them out again when they have learnt to 
appreciate the value of non-literary naivete. The 
more obscure the writer, the more naive will be 
the letter, at least as concerns the thought of future 
publication. It may be said with some certainty 
that most of the papyrus letters written by unknown 
men and women of Egypt at the time when the 
New Testament was growing and consolidating are 
in the above sense of the word completely naive 
and reflect single definite situations in the outer or 
inner lives of their writers with the greatest sincerity. 

This estimate of the papyrus letters is quite in 
harmony with ancient ideas on the subject, as may 
be shown by reference to Demetrius,^ a theorist on 
the art of letter-writing, who says very finely that 
in writing a letter one draws a picture of one's 

' It is a remarkable faet that the 2nd. cent. A.D. is especially rich in personal 
letters allowing of conclusions as to spiritual conditions. Is that accident, 
or were men then really more sentimental and communicative? This 
openness and sensitiveness of soul was an important factor in the Christian 

' Epigtolographi Cfraeci, reo. Hercher, p. 13 : axeSbv yip eUiva ^/cckttos t^s 
^auTov fj/vxH^ ypdipei r^r ivurroMiv. kqX (an /liv koI i^ AXXov "K&you irairis Idelv 
rb fi$oi Tofl yp&(povTOi, i| oiSevii Si oBtws lbs dmffToKTJs. 


own soul, and in nothing is the personality better 
reflected than in a letter. 

Interpretative scholarship ought certainly to come 
first to an understanding about the methods of 
regarding, explaining, and reanimating these ancient 
self-portraits. We are not yet sufficiently practised 
in this new art. The best way is to read the texts 
in conjunction with other scholars, with continuous 
discussion of the various possibilities of interpretation. 
What one regards as mummy-like another will 
perhaps make live again. At any rate let us read 
without unduly lauding any supposed child of nature 
to the skies ; let us brand as brutal what is brutal, 
and accord no praise to vulgar narrowness. Not on 
any account, however, must we come to the letters 
with the condescending superiority of the man from 
town who knows " the people " only from kail-yard 
fiction or from stage-representations, and perhaps from 
hohday tours in quest of old farmhouse furniture ; 
who thinks Hodge stupid, and is hugely amused 
at his lack of culture. In these texts we are dealing 
not with curiosities but with human destinies ; some- 
times only the humorous vexations of everyday life are 
concerned — and then it is permissible to smile — ^but 
often the trouble is very deep and real. We must 
leave our hnguistic red-pencils at home, for these are 
not Greek examination papers to be corrected, and 
we shall do better to ask ourselves whether soldiers 
and day-labourers of the present day write any 
better. These texts should be read only by those 
who have hearts for the common people, who feel 
at home among fields, vineyards, and dykes, guard- 
rooms and rowing-thwarts, and who have learnt to 
read the lines of a hand distorted by toil. 

There is Alis, wife of the day-labourer Hilarion,. 


growing anxious as her hour of trial approaches : 
a half-sentimental, half-brutal letter^ is all that 
her husband writes her from the capital, on 17 June 
in the year 1 b.c. 

Irene ^ is called upon to console a family that has 
just been plunged into mourning, but the poor empty 
soul has nothing to give but tears and a few good 
words dictated to her by custom ; and yet we cannot 
deny her our sympathy. 

Or a young Egyptian soldier who has just been 
saved from peril on the sea by the lord Serapis, lands 
in Italy and writes to his father^ while the new 
impressions are fresh upon him. A thankful, hopeful 
temperament this soldier's, as he looks forward to 
the future, nor does he lose his attractiveness after 
years of hard service.* The same hearty goodwill 
comes out in the letter of another soldier.^ 

And Nearchus prattles on to Heliodorus® about 
his travels, and we see him in sacred places carving 
the names of his friends with intercessory prayer. 

Or we hear the prodigal Antonis Longus '' coming to 
himself and expressing his contrition in these moving 
sentences in the first person : " I walk about in rags, 
I am naked. I beseech thee, mother, be reconciled 
to me ! I have been chastened. I know that I 
have sinned." 

And so it goes on, the texts are inexhaustible. 
The same papyri that we made use of above to make 
clear the characteristics of the non-literary letter can 
thus be employed also in solving a greater and still 
more profitable problem — that of entering into the 
nature of individual souls among the non-literary 

' Cf. p. 154 fE. above. » Of. p. 164 ff. above. 

" Cf. p. 168 fE. above. * Cf. p. 172 ff. above. 

' Cf. p. 183 if. above. • Cf. p. 162 f. above. 

' Of. p. 176 ff. above. 


middle and lower classes of ancient society. One 
soul is added to another, a new one in every letter, 
and we even possess whole bundles of connected letters 
from one and the same family,^ and are able to see 
into the relationship between various families of the 
same social stratum. Every new soul, however, 
makes clearer to us the "world" which was the 
object of the missionary labours of St. Paul and his 
successors. This world was composed of human 
souls. The interest of the first missionary generations 
was directed? not to ancient systems of philosophy 
and speculative ways of combating them, but to the 
salvation of souls. It is, however, most highly pro- 
bable that the souls of men on the coasts of Syria, 
Asia Minor, and Greece were not essentially different 
from those of their Egyptian contemporaries. This 
is what I meant by saying above that we may take 
the souls of the Egyptian letter-writers as types of 
the ancient soul in general.^ If individual proof be 
wanted, think of the surprising similarity between 

' Cf. the 14 letters from the correspondence of the veteran 1. Bellenus 
Gemellus, of the years 94-110 A.D., which were found in a house at Kasr el- 
Ban^t (the ancient Euhemeria) in the Fayflm, and published in Fayum Tovms, 
Nos. 110-123. The handwriting of the letters written by the man himself 
shows the advance of age. The letters yield an unusually rich lexical harvest. 
For the epistolary formula oOs (8») iyCi AyaTw iv dXijffefp, " whom I love in 
truth" (2 John 1, 3 John 1), there is analogy in the Gemellus letters 11926f. 
(c. 100 A.D.) and 11%^ (110 A.D.), rois ^iXoCi/Tes T]iw,i (o-i) irfAs &\ii9uu>, 
" who love us (thee) according to truth." tl. von Wilamowitz-MoellendorfE, 
Gottingische gel. Anzeigen, 1901, p. 37 S., made a beginning in the work of 
turning these letters to scientific account. — There should also be mentioned the 
correspondence of Heliodorus and others (see p. 227 f. above), part of which is 
published in the Amherst Papyri, Nos. 131-135, the rest at Heidelberg still 
awaiting publication. There are also connected family letters in the Berliner 
Grieohisohe Urkunden, etc. The correspondence of Abinnaeus, which next 
follows in the Christian Imperial period, has been mentioned above, p. 206. 

' G, Heinrioi says very justly (Der literarische Clmrakter der neutestament- 
liohen Sehriften, p. 58) : " It is, I think, no unjustifiable generalisation to 
regard the Egyptian jjapyrus letters as typical of the vulgar epistolary style 
of antiquity at large." The same generalisation ms(,y be extended to the 
writers of the letters. 


the Prodigal Son depicted by Jesus the Galilean and 
the real soul of the Egyptian Antonis Longus. But 
chief stress must be laid on the total impression 
received ; any one coming from the soul-life of the 
New Testament to the papyri finds himself in no 
strange world, and whoever comes from the papyri to 
the New Testament will encounter familiar states and 
expressions of emotion at every step. 

Someday perhaps, when all those men and families 
of the ancient lower classes have received individual 
attention and been made to live again, the command 
will go forth from the citadel of learning that they 
and the countless others whose names alone are 
mentioned shall also be enrolled. The personal 
register of the upper classes, which is a book of 
contrast to the New Testament, wiU then be supple- 
mented by a personal and family register of the 
humbler classes, a book not of contrast but of contact. 
And in this book, in which peasants and artisans 
from Egypt jostle legionaries from Britain and the 
frontiers of Germany, in which traders from Syria 
and the Black Sea encounter with slaves from 
Ephesus and Corinth — in this book of the Forgotten 
we shall not search in vain for the Baptist, for Jesus, 
and for St. Paul. 

Souls of the ancients ! Before we leave them let 
me commend their study to all those — I do not wish 
to blame them — who are so fond of chasing the psyche 
of "modern" man with the butterfly-net. If we 
look to the really great events and possibilities of the 
inward life, those " ancient " souls seem to be separated 
by no such great interval from our own. That is to 
say, the papyri teach us the continuity of human 
soul-hfe in all its main movements. If I may give 


practical point to the observation, they diminish, 
when heed is paid to things of the soul, the interval 
that many people nowadays, exaggerating the value 
of things intellectual, feel between themselves and 
the New Testament. 

6. When the individual souls of antiquity have 
been studied so far that a beginning can be made 
with the personal register of the humbler classes, we 
shall recognise better than we can at present how 
greatly Christianity met the needs of those souls. 
The depth of meaning will become clearer and clearer 
in that dream- vision ^ of a man of Macedonia begging 
the Apostle of the Gentiles, then in Asia, to " come 
over into Macedonia, and help us." Indeed, the old 
and the new came to meet each other like two hands 
stretched out for a friendly clasp. 

In this connexion the fact which occupied us in 
the second chapter appears in a new light, I mean 
the fact of close relationship between the early 
Christian missionary language and the popular 
language of the age. The scholars who isolated 
" New Testament " Greek did not reflect that by so 
doing they closed the doors of the early Christian 
mission. Paul would have found no " open door " ^ 
if he had not been to the Greeks " a Greek," i.e., in 
our context, if he had not in the Hellenised world 
spoken to Hellenised men in the Hellenistic popular 

We can, however, go still further : Paul and the 

' Acts xvi. 9. 

» This thoroughly popular expression, a favourite with St. Paul (1 Cor. xvi. 9 ; 
2 Cor. ii. 12; Col. iv. 3), is very characteristic. Thanks probably to the 
English, who know their Bibles so well, it has become a catchword of modern 
international politics, but not many who use it are conscious of its Pauline 
character. St. Paul no doubt found it current in the world about him. 


other apostles are, in a much higher degree than has 
probably been supposed, at home also in the world 
of cultural, especially of religious, ethical, and legal 
ideas peculiar to their Hellenistic age, and they are 
fond of making frequent use of details taken from 
this world of thought. This is a fact which is not 
completely separable from the one discussed in 
Chapter II. ; at many points philology and social 
history overlap.^ This is particularly true in the 
case of technical ideas and liturgical formulae, but 
also where institutions of the surrounding world 
exert an influence on the figurative language of 

One of the marks of the highly popular style of 
St. Paul's missionary methods is that in many 
passages of his letters we find St. Paul employing a 
usage particularly familiar and intelligible to popular 
feeling — 1 mean the technieal phraseology and the 
cadence of the language of magic. 

I have tried elsewhere ^ to show that the curious 
sentence about " the marks of Jesus " ^ is best under- 
stood if read in the light of a magical formula handed 
down in a Leyden papyrus.* 

So too in the case of the directions to the Corinthian 
church concerning the punishment of the transgressor 
who had committed sin with his step-mother,^ the 
full meaning does not come out until the passage is 
read in connexion with the ancient custom of exe- 
cration, i.e. devoting a person to the gods of the 
lower world. A person who wished to injure an 
enemy or to punish an evil-doer consecrated him by 

' It is advisable, however, to keep the points o£ view of philology and social 
history distinct. At many points philology holds its own completely. 

^ BibeUtudien, p. 262 £E. ; Bible St-udies, p. 346 ff. » Gal. vi. 17. , 

, ' For this formula see also J. de Zwaan, The Journal of Theological Studies, 
April 1905, p. 418. ' 1 Cor. ». 4, 5. 


incantation and tablet to the powers of darkness 
below, and the tablet reached its address by being 
confided to the earth, generally to a grave. ^ A 
regular usage was established in the language of 
these execrations, — a usage common to antiquity. 
The only difference between Jewish and pagan 
execrations probably lay in the fact that Satan 
took the place of the gods of the lower world. 
In form, however, there must have been great 
similarities.^ This is seen in the words of St. Paul 
to the Corinthians : — 

" Gather together in the name of the Lord Jesus, ye 
and my spirit, and in fellowship with the power of our 
Lord Jesus deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruc- 
tion of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of 
the Lord Jesus." ' 

Two technical expressions are here adopted from 
the ritual of cursing. The phrase "dehver unto 
Satan that . . . ," recurring in 1 Tim. i. 20, corre- 
sponds to the formula in the London Magical 
Papyrus 46334^: — 

"Daemon of the dead, ... I deliver unto thee N. N., 
in order that ...,"* 

and even the unobtrusive httle word avv, " with," " in 
fellowship with," is technical in just such contexts 
as this : we find it not only in the Paris Magical 

' Cf. Anti/ie Fluclitafeln ausgewahlt und erklait von Biohard Wiinsch 
(Lietzmann's Kleine Texte, No. 20), Bonn, 1907. 

2 Cf . pp. 93, 93 above, the remarks on avaBeiiaH^a, " I curse." 

' 1 Cor. V. 4, 5 : iv tQ dpi/tan toO Kvplov 'IijiroO (XwaxBhTinr' ifuiv Kcd toO ^juoff 
TveiiMTos, aiv rg Suc(t/iei ToS Kvpiov ruiuv 'Ii)(ro5 irafiadouvai. rbv toioStov rif 
'Swrav^ els bXeSpov t^s <rapK6s, iva t4 TveS/m awB^ i» rg ilf^pf toO Kvptov 'IriJoS. 

■■ GreeJt Papyri in tlte British Museum, ed. Kenyon (Vol. I.) p. 75, veicvSalfim, 
. . . Trapadi8u>fii.l (7oi. rhv S{eiva), «irws. . . . The papyrus was written in the 
4th cent. A.D., but its formulae are ancient. The present formula, addressed 
to a daemon of the dead, is neither Jewish ndr Christian. 


Papyrus,^ but also on a much older Attic cursing 
tablet of lead (3rd cent. B.C.) ^ : — 

" I will bind her ... in feUowship with Hecate, who is 
below the earth, and the Erinyes." 

All this proves therefore that the apostle advises the 
Corinthian churchto perform a solemn act of execration. 

And in the concluding lines of 1 Corinthians, 
which St. Paul wrote with his own hand,^ there is 
a reminiscence of the cadence of ancient curses 
imitated from the language of legislation : — 

" If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema." 

With this compare the epitaph from Halicarnassus 
already cited above * : — 

" But if any one shall attempt to take away a stone . . , 
let him be accursed." 

' Cf. p. 255 above, line 2999. 

^ Corpus Iihicriptionwm Attica/rvm, Appendix ( = Insoriptiones Graeoae, 
Vol. III. Pars III.), No. 108, ^aa (of. fclie following pages) iyCi Kdvrtv 
. . . air $' 'EK(iT()))t x^ovlai xal 'Epiviaiv. Considering the rarity of the 
preposition triv (cf. Tycho Mommsen, Seitrage zu der Lehre von den 
griechiscken PrwposUionen, 3 parts, Frankfurt a. M., 1886, 1887; at 
p. 107 aiv is even described as an aristocratic word) this parallel is not 
without importance. — For the same reason we may make room here for a 
remarkable parallel to PhU. i. 23, " to depart, and to be in fellowship with 
(aiv) Christ." I have discussed the formula "with Christ" (jriiv XpiaTif) in 
my book JDie nevteitamentliche Formel "in Christo Jesu" Marburg, 1892, 
p. 126, and shown that it nearly always means the fellowship of the faithful 
with Christ after their death or after His coming. Thus we read in a vulgar 
graffito from Alexandria (Imperial period?) these words addressed to a 
deceased person, eUxoii-ai K&yii iv rdx" "^ "ol elvtu, " I would that I were 
soon in fellowship with thee" (Sitzungsber. der Kgl. Preuss. Akademie der 
Wissensch. zu Berlin, 1902, p. 1098 ; U. von Wilamowitz-MoellendorfE there 
points out the striking fact that the graffito already expresses the hope [not 
current even in the New Testament] of meeting again after death which is 
current among us. Hermann Dials, writing from Berlin W., 22 July, 1908, tells 
me that the (certainly rare) mention of meeting again in ancient epitaphs has 
its exact parallel in the ancient mysteries : the gold plates of the Orphios 
(Vorsokratikeri' p. 480, No. 17 ff.) have no other object than to guarantee this 
certainty. The new thing about the graffito is its proof that the ideas of the 
mystics had penetrated among the people. 

' 1 Cor. xvi. 22, rf m oi 0tX« riv xiptov, iJTU &viid€ij,a. Similar formulae. 
Gal. i. 8, 9. * Page 94, n. 4 to imitaTdparos. 



Akin to this is the parallelism between St. Paul's 
asseveration ^ : — 

" I call God for a witness upon my soul " 

and the formula of an oath taken under Augustus 
and recorded in an inscription from Galatia,^ in 
which the taker of the oath says, in case of breach 
of the oath : — 

" I pronounce a curse against myself, my body, soul, 
goods, children, etc." ' 

The clearest example of the use of technical ex- 
pressions taken from magic is perhaps the phrase 
" bond of the tongue." * In the story of the heal- 
ing of the deaf and dumb man St. Mark (vii. 35) 
says : — 

" And straightway his ears were opened, and the bond 
of his tongue was loosed." 

Most commentators, I think, have lightly pro- 
nounced " bond of his tongue " to be a " figurative " 
expression, without reahsing the technical peculiarity 
and therewith the point of the " figure." But running 
throughout all antiquity we find the idea that a man 
can be " bound " or " fettered " by daemonic influences. 
It occurs in Greek, Syrian, Hebrew, Mandaean, and 
Indian magic spells.* In Greek we even have a 

' 2 Cor. i. 23, ^ili Si n&prvpa rbv Behv imKoKodiuu M t^v i/iiiv ^vxiv. " Upon 
my soul" or " against my soul " in case 1 say vyhat is untrue. 

' Dittenberger, Orientis Graeoi Insoriptiones Selectae, No. 53228ff., irapCiiMi 
airr&s re itar' ifiov Koi <r[(i/ia]Tos toS inavroO Kal ^/VXV' f"' P^o" «*[' Ti]Kvui>, etc. 

' At the same time a fine analogy to Luther's "Leib, Gut, Ehr, Kind 
und Weib." [" And though they take our life, Groods, honour, children, wife, 
Yet is their profit small . . ." in Carlyle's version of " Ein' feste Burg." Cf. 
p. 140, n. 2 above. Tb.] 

• 6 Seir/iis t^s yKii(r<Trj%. For what follows cf. Die Christliche Welt, 17 
(1903) ool. 554 ff. 

' Cf. Mark Lidzbarski, Ephemeris fiir eemitisoJie UpigrapJdk, 1, p. 31. 


detailed magical prescription for " binding " a man/ 
besides large numbers of inscriptions dealing with 
the matter. One of the oldest of these is the 
following, a leaden tablet from Attica of the first 
half of the 4th cent. B.C. (Fig. 45), which I give here 
as read by Adolf Wilhelm ^ : — 

KaTo^ai Kal ovk avaXvcrm 'AvriKkea ^AvTujtdvoi; kuI 'Avti- 

(f>dv'r]v TlaTpoKkkof koI ^iXoxXea Kal KXeoxapriv 
Kal ^i\0K\ea Kal X iiiKp(ovihr]v Kal Tifidvdrjv Kal Tifidvdrjv. 
KaraSw tovto<s * dtravra'} irpoi jov 'Epfirjv tov [tov] yQoviov 


5 KdTO'Xpv KaX TOV ipiovviov Kal ovk dvaKverco, 

"Gods! Good Tyche! I bind down and will not loose 
Anticles, the son of Antiphanes, and Antiphanes the son 
of Patrocles, and Philocles, and Cleochares, and Philocles, 
and Smicronides, and Timanthes, and Timanthes. I bind 
these all down to Hermes, who is beneath the earth and 
crafty and fast-holding and luck-bringing, and I will not loose 

Many other Attic binding-tablets have been pub- 
hshed by Richard Wiinsch,* but we also possess 
examples from other localities and of later date. 

The cases are particularly common in which a 
man's tongue is specially to be " bound." There are 
no less than thirty of WiinschV Attic tablets which 
bind or curse the tongue. And in the Louvre at 

' Details in the Corpus Insoriptionum Attioanmt, Appendix p. xxx (by 
E. Wttnscli). 

2 Jahreshefte des OsterreioUschen Arohaologisohen Institutes in Wien, 7 
(190i) p. 120 f. The facsimUe there (p. 121) is reproduced here (Fig. 45) by 
kind consent of the Imperial Austrian Archaeological Institute. 

' Samuel Brandt, in a letter to me dated Heidelberg, 22 September, 1908, 
proposes to write iyaO^ rixo- This is well worth noting. * = to6tov, 

' Corpus Insoriptionum Attiearum, Appendix j cf. also A. Wilhelm, loo. eit. 
p. 105 ff., and E. Munsterberg, ibid. p. 145 fE.; and for "binding" see further 
W. Kohler, Arohiv f. Eeligionswissenschaf t, 8, p. 236 fiE. 



Paris ' there is this much later Mandaean inscription 
on a magician's dish : — 

" Bound and fast held be the mouth and fast held the 
tongue of curses, of vows, and of invocations of the gods. 
. . . Bound be the tongue in its mouth, fast held be its 
lips, shaken, fettered, and banned the teeth, and stopped 
the ears of curses and invocations," 

A binding-charm of essentially similar nature is 
found on an ostracon of the later Empire from 
Ashmunen in Egypt, in which pagan and Jewish 
elements are mixed (Fig. 46). It is in the possession 
of Mr. F. Hilton Price, of London, and was first 
published (as a Christian text) by F. E. Brightman.^ 
A similar charm was pointed out by Wilcken ^ in the 
London Papyrus* No. 12X935^., and there are other 
examples in allied texts of magical prescriptions 
against anger. 

The text of the ostracon (not yet fully established) 
is as follows : — 

Kp6vo<;, 6 Karex^ov^ rov 

oXmv T^v dvOpdnrav, Ko/re- 

Cronos, thou who restrainest 
the wrath of all men, restrain 

> EphemerUfur semitisohe EpigrapUli, 1, p. 100. The date cannot be ascer- 
tained exactly. 

" In W. E. Cram's Coptic Ostraca, No. 522, p. 4f. (and p. 83 of the 
lithographed text); cf. O. Wilcken, Aichiv fur Papyrusforschung, 2, p. 173, and 
E. Preuschen, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 15 (1906) p. 642. I am Indebted to 
the kindness of W. B. Orum for the photograph which is here (Fig. 46) given 
in slightly reduced facsimile. 

» Archiv, 2, p. 173. 

" Published by Wessely, but now accessible in Greeli Papyri in the British 
Museum (Vol. I.) p. 114. 

= Karixa in magical texts often has the sense of " I cripple," and is com- 
pletely synonymous with the " I bind " which is elsewhere used. Cf . the term 
9vnoKi.roxov, p. 90, n. 4 above. 

Jig. 46. — Charm for " Binding.'' Ostracon 
from Ashmunen, late Imperial Period. Former- 
ly in the possession of the late F. Hilton 
Price, London. (Kindly procured for me by 
W. E. Crum.) 

[p. 309 


%6 TOV BvflOV ^Slpl, TOV^ 

5 Mapia ^ Ke ^ firj idtTT]^ av- 
Tov XaX^- 

<T€V ^ 'ArpS} [?], TW ^ 6T€KeV 
\_. . . e^]o/3Ktf<B KUTO, TOV 

\ov rov 6eov ^ etva^ /j/rj 

vq aiirSs, on K.pivomreki' /ce' 
10 Kpoveo viroKire^. p,^ edaT]<! 
avTov XaKriaev * axiTm pr]re 
vvKTav ' pjTjre '^p.epav 

/ / p 10 

fiTjTe p,t,av tp . 

the wrath of Hor, whom Mary 
bore, and suffer him not to 
speak with Hatros(?), whom 
Taisis bore. I adjure ... by 
the finger of god that he open 
not his mouth to him, because 
he is subject to Crinupelis (?) 
and Cronos. Suffer him not 
to speak with him, neither for 
a night nor a day, nor for one 

From these and many other texts we see what the 
ancients thought of as the result of binding the 
tongue, viz. inability to speak. The man whose 
tongue was bound was intended to become thereby 
dumb, so we may conclude conversely that the 

' The article is used instead of the relative pronoun. 

* The addition of the mother's name is regular in magical texts, of. Bibel- 
gtudien, p. 37; Bible Studies, p. 283; L. Blau, Das altjiidisehe Zauberwesen, 
p. 85 ; Wilcken, Archiv, 1, p. 423 f. The occurrence of the name Mary once 
more (cf. p. 123f. above) is interesting. 

' = KoX, * ^ XaXiJceiy. 

' The " finger of God " is an old Jewish expression, cf. LXX Exod. viii. 19, 
xzxi. 18 ; Deut. ix. 10. In Luke xi. 20 we have " the finger of God " in con- 
nexion with exorcism. Ample material will be found in Immanuel Low, Die 
Miiger in lAtteratur und Folklore der Juden, Gedenkbuch zur Erinnerung an 
David Kaufmann, Breslau, 1900, p. 65 fE. 

• =lva. 

' I cannot explain this name. In the Leyden Magical Papyrus V. ed. Albr. 
Dieterich (p. 134, n. 1 above) XIIIjj the plant-name Kpai&vdeiMv, " house-leek," is 
identified with yinos 'A/iiiuiros, "offspring of Ammon." In the great Paris 
Magical Papyrus, 1. 29791 (ed. Wessely, p. 250 above) Ammon and Cronos 
occur in close proximity. Perhaps the enigmatical word is a secret name for 
the god Ammon. [Kptvdvde/iov, according to Liddell and Scott, is a synonym 
found in Dioscorides for imepoKdWis (-is), a kind of yellow lily that blossoms 
but for a day. The Greek words usually translated "house-leek" are evlireTpoy 
and iell^aov. Te.] ' = inrdKeirai. 

Vulgar for piiaa. '» = &pav, cf. p. 251 above, 1. 3000. 


tongue of a dumb person was often considered in 
ancient popular belief to have been "bound" by- 
some daemon. This view fits in with the wider 
complex of widespread ancient beliefs that certain 
diseases and morbid conditions were caused in general 
by daemonic possession. Jesus Himself says (Luke 
xiii. 16) that Satan had "bound" a daughter of 
Abraham eighteen years. He means the crooked 
woman previously mentioned in the context, " which 
had a spirit of infirmity," and whose "bond" was 
loosed on the Sabbath. It seems probable, therefore, 
that St. Mark's "bond of his tongue" is also a 
technical expression. The writer will not merely 
say that a dumb man was made to speak — he will 
add further that daemonic fetters were broken, a 
work of Satan undone. It is one of those thoroughly 
popular touches which helped Christianity to make 
its way in the world ! 

The formulae usual in ancient accounts of healing, 
of which we know plenty from inscriptions at 
Epidaurus and other places where cures were wrought, 
of course cannot have been unknown to the apostles. 
As St. John's story of the healing of the man born 
blind finds a parallel in a Greek inscription from 
Rome,^ reporting the cure of a blind man, and as 
St. Matthew describes St. Peter's peril on the sea in 
the style of a popular narrative of rescue,^ so also 
St. Paul clothes one of his most remarkable con- 
fessions in the style of the ancient texts relating to 
healing. Speaking of his severe bodily affliction, the 
" thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet 
me," he confesses ' : — 

" Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice," 

' Cf. p. 132 above. ' Cf. pp. 168-9, n. 6 above. 

' 2 Cor. xii. 8, inrkp roirov rpls rbv xipiov TapexiKeaa. 


just as M. Julius Apellas, a man of Asia Minor in 
the Imperial age, narrating on a marble stele how he 
was cured at the shrine of Asclepius at Epidaurus, 
acknowledges with regard to one of his various 
iUs ' :— 

" And concerning this thing I besought the god." 

The parallel is all the more remarkable because 
the verb ^ used for " beseech " does not seem to be 
exactly common in such a context. It is moreover 
factually important, as showing very clearly that 
Christ^ was occasionally, even by the piety of St. 
Paul, taken as the Saviour in the literal sense of 
" Healer." Whoever fears that the New Testament 
may suffer from the discovery of this parallel should 
read the whole inscription of M. Julius Apellas and 
the whole twelfth chapter of 2 Corinthians side by 
side, and then compare the souls and the fortunes 
of the two men of Asia Minor, Apellas and Paul. 
Two patients besought their Healers for healing, 
and to which of them did his Healer give the most ? 
What is greater? the cures of Apellas' various ail- 
ments, following one another in rapid succession, and 
paid for in hard cash to Asclepius of Epidaurus ? or 
the answer that St. Paul received * instead of bodily 
healing ? — 

" My grace is sufficient for thee : for My strength is 
made perfect in weakness." 

And which is the more valuable text ? the adver- 
tising inscription on marble, ordered by the god 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge,^ No. 8043of.. jcai yiip wepl roirou wapeKiXetra rbv Bedr. 
' Wilke-Grimm, ClavU Novi Testamenti,^ quotes irapaKoKetr Seoiis Or ffedc only 
from Josephus. 
' To Him the word " Lord " refers, of. verse 9, beginning and end. 
* 2 Cor. xii. 9. 


himself^ ? or that line of a letter, wrung from suffering 
and sent in confidence to the poor folk of a great 
city, without a thought that it would survive the 
centuries ? 

7. But there are other ways in which St. Paul 
made use of the forms and formulae of his age, as 
they presented themselves to him, principally, no 
doubt, in inscriptions. When in reviewing his past 
work he professes ^ : — 

" I have kept faith," 

and when, probably in the 2nd cent, a.d., the Ephe- 
sian M. Aurelius Agathopus, fuH of gratitude to 
Artemis, makes the same profession in an inscription 
in the theatre ' : — 
" I kept faith," 

both no doubt are drawing from the same source, 
from the stock of formulae current in Asia Minor.* 
On the other hand the metaphor employed by the 
apostle in the same passage,^ 

" I have fought the good fight. . . . Henceforth there 
is laid up for me the crown of righteousness . . . ," 

reminds one of phrases in an inscription relating to 

an athlete of the 2nd cent. a.d., also in the theatre at 

Ephesus * : — 

" He fought three fights, and twice was crowned." 

' Of. 1. 31 f. of the inscription. ' 2 Tim. iv. 7, ttjv irltrTw rerfipriKa. 

' The Collection of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Mnsevm, 
Part IIL No. 587 b, in r^ trlanv iriipriffa (i.e. with the Gerusia or Senate). 

* Cf. also Jo. Jac. Wetstein's Novum Testavientvm Graecuvi, II., Amstelae- 
dami, 1762, p. 366. The parallels Show that Trims in the passage in St. Paul 
means " faith " in the sense of " loyalty," not " the faith " in the sense of 

* 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, rbv koMv ir/dva i/yiivur/iai, . . . \otirbv iirbKeiToi /loi 6 t?s 
StKaioirivris irr4<pavo!. 

* The Collection of Ancient Oreeh Inscriptions in the British Museum, 
Part III. No. 604, frypUraro i,yQii>a$ rpeis, iirri<t>eii Sia. 3. H. Moulton, The 
Expository Times, October 1908, p. 33, adds another inscription of 267 B.C. 


No doubt St. Paul in his time read inscriptions like 

The following is a still more striking case of 
contact between the apostle and the world. In the 
Pastoral Epistles we read ^ :-— 

" Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father ; the 
younger men as brethren : the elder women as mothers ; 
the younger as sisters in all purity." 

In the same way a pagan inscription of the 2nd or 
3rd cent, a.d., at Olbia on the Black Sea,^ in honour 
of Theocles, the son of Satyrus, boasts of him as 

" bearing himself to his equals in age as a brother, to 
his elders as a son, to children as a father, being adorned 
with all virtue." 

Though much later in date than St. Paul this 
inscription is not dependent on the New Testament ; 
both it and St. Paul have been influenced by old 
tradition. Pithy sayings of ancient teachers, such 
as Wetstein ^ has collected in his note on the New 
Testament passage, were in the time of St. Paul 
commonplaces of popular ethics. They were taken 
over by him (perhaps after reading them in in- 
scriptions) with a sure instinct of appreciation for 
noble thought and pregnant expression, and in the 
same way their echo reaches us again later on from 
the Black Sea. 

Much might be said about ancient popular ethics 
in general and the fruitful eiFects of the same on 

' 1 Tim. V. 1, 2, Trpetr^vripif fv)] ^TriirX^Jj/s, liXXi jrapaicdXci lis varipa, veiaripovs 
lis iSe\<(>ois, jr/seir/SuT^pas ils /iip-^pas, veuripas in d5eX04s iv xdtrj; ayvelq.. 

^ Inscriptionet Antiquae Orae Septentrionalis Ponti Mummi Graecae et 
Latinae ed. Latyschev, I. No. 2228ir. (cf . IV. p. 266 f .), tois niv ijkmi.iliT(ui irpoo-^e- 
p6/ievos lis d5eX06s, rois Si Tpeffpvripois lis vi6s, raU Si iraurlv iit Trar^/s, irdo-i; d/jer? 

' Novwm Testamenbum, Graeewm, II. p. 339. 


early Christian popular ethics. The otherwise some- 
what barren inscriptions,^ especially complimentary 
and funeral inscriptions, yield an abundance of ethical 
detailed material. The praises lavished on the 
meritorious citizens, or the thankfully commemorated 
good qualities of deceased persons, will not always 
tell us what those people were really like, but all 
such statements reflect the moral ideals of the men 
who set up the inscriptions, and whatever seems 
stereotyped may be reckoned part of the world's 
fixed moral consciousness at the time. It is once 
more a mark of St. Paul's fineness of perception 
that, far fi*om denying the world all moral attributes, 
he credits the heathen ^ with a general fund of real 
morality regulated by conscience, in the same way 
as he praises the depth of their religious insight.' 

In previous works* I have given a not incon- 
siderable number of examples of the secular origin 
of supposed exclusively " New Testament " ethical 
concepts. For the sake of argument I was bound 
to deal only with the more unusual concepts, when 
of course the agreement between the apostles and 
the world would be most striking, but if attention 
is paid also to the concepts belonging to everyday 
morality we discover an extensive common ground 
on which the apostles could and did take their stand. 
Particularly as we read the pastoral exhortations of 
St. Paul in his letters (and not least in the Pastoral 
Epistles) and others imitating them, we feel that, 
instead of being spoken to the winds hke so much 
obsolete wisdom, they were bound to find in the 

■ For the literary sources I refer to the works of Georg Heinrioi and Paul 
2 Cf . especially Bom. ii. 14 S, 
' Acts xvii. 28. 
' Especially in Bihelitudien and Neue BibeUtudien (= SibU Studies). 



Fig. 47.— Marble Pedestal from Pergamum with an Inscription in 
honour of the Gymnasiarch Apollodorus of Pergamum. Boman Period. 
Original still at Pergamum. By permission of the Directors of the 
Koyal Museums at Berlin. 

tp. 316 


popular consciousness of that day a powerful 
reverberating medium. 

Here is an example. The expressions "con- 
versation," "to have conversation,"^ etc. (A.V.), in 
an ethical sense ( = " behaviour, manner of life," 
"behave, live," etc., R.V.), are frequent in the 
apostolic writers, and many commentators explain 
them as a Hebraism. But they were common to 
the ancient world as a whole, and it is senseless 
to make a diiference between Semitic and non- 
Semitic. I have given the necessary quotations 
elsewhere already,^ but here is an additional illustra- 
tion that appeals to the eye : an inscription ' (Fig. 47) 
in honour of the Gymnasiarch ApoUodorus, the son 
of Pyrrhus, on a marble pedestal in the gymnasium 
at Pergamum, of the Roman period (after 133 B.C.). 
It reads thus : — 

o Sr]/M)<; eTLfirjaev 'AvoWoScapov Uvppov 
j(pva&i (TTe^dvcot Kal elKovt ^aXKrji 
apeTr]<i 6V€Kev Koi €vvoia<; t^9 et? eavrov 
Kal Sia TO yvfivao'iapxV'^o-vTa 
5 KaX&<! Kot ivBo^co'; avaaTpa^rpiai. 

Tlie people honoured ApoUodorus, the son of Pyrrhus, 
with a golden crown and a brazen image by reason of his 
virtue and goodwill towards them, and because of his good 
and glorious behaviour when he was Gymnasiarch. 

' ivasTpo^ri and d,va<STpi(^iT9ai. 

' JSibeUtudlen, p. 83 ; Neue Sibelstudien, p. 22 ; Bible Studies, pp. 88, 194 ; 
and, before that, E. L. Hicks in the Classical Review, 1 (1887) p. 6 j and now 
Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, March 1908, p. 269 ; W. H. P. Hatch, 
Some llhistrations, p. 136 f. 

' Die Imchriften von Pergamon, No. 459. The facsimile there given on the 
scale of 1 : 7"5 is reproduced here (Fig. 47) by kind permission of the Directors 
of the Eoyal Museums, Berlin. (The translation of the inscription in 
the first edition of this book was incorrect, as pointed oat by Johannes 
Imelmann; cf. also Eberhard Nestle, Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift, 
28 [1908] ool. 1527.) 


Extraordinarily interesting are the cases in which 
the apostles, being still in living contact with the 
lower classes, adopt the fine expressions which, 
coined in the workshop and the marketplace, are 
a terse and pithy presentment of what the people 
thought was good. There is a phrase we find on 
the tombstone of a humble man ^ of the early Empire 
in a country district not far from the home of St. 
Paul in the south-west of Asia Minor. To the 
eye wearied with the bombast of overloaded eulogy 
in showier inscriptions it appears scarcely noticeable 
at first, and yet how eloquent in reality is this simple 
form of praise : Daphnus, the best among the 
gardeners, has raised himself a hero's resting-place 
(Heroon), and now has reached this goal,^ 

" after that he had much laboured." 

To any one with a sense for beauty in simplicity 
these lines concerning the much labour of the 
gardener Daphnus are as a green spray of ivy tenderly 
clasping the tombstone of its old friend. And the 
words of St. John, in the Revelation, are no less 
racy of the people when, recording the voice heard 
from heaven, he gives a slight Asiatic tinge ^ to an 
old Biblical phrase,* and says that the dead "rest 
from their labours." '^ St. Paul, however, the artisan 
missionary, catches the popular tone of his native 

• The inscription was discovered in the village of Bbedjik (S.W. Asia 
Minor) in the house of the moUah Mehmet, and published by Heberdey and 
Kalinka, BericU iiber zivei Jleisen im sildwesUioJien, Xleinasien [p. 277, n. i 
above], p. 41, No. 59, /icrli, ri jroXXi Kori&ffai. 

" This translation of the brief toCto of the inscription (of. p. 189, n. 7 above) 

is very free. 
' He says K6Tro>i> instead of Ipyav. He uses the latter word immediately 


• Of. LXX Gen. ii. 2. 

' Kev. xiv. 13, ix tuv k6tiiiv airrSai. 


country even better when he boasts ' of an Ephesian 
Mary, while she was yet Hving, that 

" she much laboured for you.'" 

Again, in a Roman cemetery ^ of later date, we hear 
the old popular phrase re-echoed by a wife who 
praises her husband, 

" who laboured much for me." 

In fact, with regard to all that Paul the weaver 
of tent-cloth has to say about labour, we ought 
to place ourselves as it were within St. Paul's own 
class, the artisan ^ class of the Imperial age, and then 
feel the force of his words. They all become 
much more lifelike when restored to their original 
historical milieu. " I laboured more abundantly than 
they all " * — these words, applied by St. Paul to 
missionary work, came originally from the joyful 
pride of the skilled weaver, who, working by the 
piece, was able to hand in the largest amount of 
stuff on pay-day. The frequent references to "labour 
in vain " * are a trembling echo of the discouragement 
resulting from a width of cloth being rejected as 
badly woven and therefore not paid for. And then 
the remark to the pious sluggards of Thessalonica ^ : 

" That if any should not work, neither should he eat." 

' Bom. xvi. 6, iroXXA iKovlairev els i/ias ; of. also Bom. xvi. 12. 

^ Corpus Imoriptionum Graecarvm, No. 9552, inscription from the cemetery 
of Pontianus at Borne (date?), reU [= aoris] /toi ttoXXA iKOTrlaa-ev. 

' St. Paul speaks of himself as a manual labourer in 1 Cor. iv. 12, and he 
writes to manual labourers (1 Thess. iv. 11). There are two small works of 
great importance in this connexion : Franz Delitzsoh, Jiidisclies JETandwerkerleien 
zur Zeit Jem^ Erlangen, 1875; and Samuel Krauss, ParaUelen im Hand- 
werk, Vierteljahrsschrift fiir Bibelkunde, Talmud und patristische Studien, 
3(1907)p. 67ffi. 

* 1 Cor. XV. 10, irepiaabrepov airSiv rdvTav iKOirlaffa. 
= Kg. Gal. iv. 11 ; Phil. li. 16 ; 1 Cor. xv. 58. 

• 2 Thess. iii. 10, rf ns o6 eiXa 4pydie<recu., nr/Si irdih-u. 


I remember a newspaper controversy in which a 
social reformer, not quite so well up in his Bible as 
he should have been, denounced this text as a modem 
heartless capitalist phrase. As a matter of fact, 
St. Paul was probably borrowing a bit of good old 
workshop morality,^ a maxim coined perhaps by some 
industrious workman as he forbade his lazy apprentice 
to sit down to dinner. 

In the same way we can only do justice to the 
remarks in the New Testament about wages by 
examining theni in situ, amidst their native surround- 
ings. Jesus and St. Paul spoke with distinct 
reference to the life of the common people. If you 
elevate such utterances to the sphere of the Kantian 
moral philosophy, and then reproach Primitive 
Christianity with teaching morahty for the sake of 
reward, you have not only misunderstood the words, 
you have torn them up by the roots. It means that 
you have failed to distinguish between the concrete 
illustration of a popular preacher, perfectly sponta- 
neous and intelligible in the native surroundings of 
Primitive Christianity, and a carefully considered 
ethical theory of fundamental importance to first 
principles. The sordid, ignoble suggestions, so Uable 
to arise in the lower class, are altogether absent from 
the sayings of Jesus and His apostle, as shown 
by the parable of the labourers in the vineyard 
and the analogous reliance of St. Paul solely upon 

Still more instructive than the parallehsm of single 
ethical phrases in popular use are the formulae in 
which pairs of ideas or whole series of ideas have 
united. When in Titus ii. 4, 5 the young women are 
exhorted to be "loving to their husbands, loving to 

' See Wetstein's quotations at 2 Thess. iii. 10. 

loYAios Bassos, 



A M E M nra r 

Fia. 48. — Marble Tombstone of Otaoilia 
PoUa of Pergamum, about the time of 
Hadrian. Now in the garden of Pasha- 
Oglu Hussein, in the Selinus valley, near 
Pergamum. By permission of the Directors 
of the Eoyal Museums at Berlin. 

[p. 319 


their children, soberminded," ^ this is quite a popular 
way of speaking, for precisely this ideal of womanhood 
is set up by the inscriptions. In an epitaph at Perga- 
mum, of about the time of Hadrian ^ (Figure 48), one 
OtaciUa PoUa is called " loving to her husband and 
loving to her children " : — 

Julius Bassus to Otacilia 
Polla, his sweetest wife. Loving 

'Jou\t09 Bdcrcroi; 
'OraKikia IImXXt) 
rr) ryXvKVTaTq 
[y^vvacKL <})iXdvSp[io] 
5 /cal <f)ikoTeicva> 
err] A,. 

to her husband, and loving to 
her children, she lived with 
him unblamably 30 years. 

That this formula was no extempore formation is 
proved by a quotation from Plutarch, by an inscrip- 
tion from Paros ' of Imperial age, and by a metrical 
inscription from Tegea.* The collocation " loving to 
her husband and soberminded " is also not rare ; it 
occurs in epitaphs for women of the Imperial period 
at Termessus in Pisidia,^ Prusias on the Hypius in 
Bithynia,® and Heraclia on the Black Sea,' 

Whole series of ethical concepts are brought 
together in the well-known Primitive Christian lists 

* ^tXAvSpovi etvai, tpiKoT^KvovSf ffibtppovas. 

' Die Imoliriften von Pergamon, No. 604 (of. Neue JBibeUtudien, p. 83 f . 
Bible Studies, p. 255 £.). The drawing (scale 1 : 10) is here reproduced with the 
kind consent of the Directors of the Eoyal Museums, Berlin (Fig. 48). 

" Eeferences in iVe«e Bihelgtudien, p. 83 f . ; Biile Studies, p. 255 f . 

■* Bulletin de Correspondance Hellgnique, 25 (1901) p. 279, tpiXbreKve <pl\avipe, 
" thou loving one to children and husband 1 " The date cannot be exactly 

* Ibid. 23 (1899) p. 301, Tfjx aiiippova Koi <pi\arSpov, " soberminded and loving 
to her husband." 

' Ibid. 25 (1901) p. 88, ^ <r64)pup (sic) Kal ^IXavSpot ywii yevo/ihri, " who was 
a soberminded wife and loving to her husband." 

' Ibid. 22 (1898) p. 496, ^ (f>t\ai>Spos xal <t[ililippuii ij <f)i\6<ro<fios f^oira KOiTfiias, 
"loving to her husband and soberminded, a lover of wisdom, she lived 
modestly " (cf . 1 Tim. ii. 9 for this last word). 


of virtues and vices. These were no new creations, 
but based on Jewish and pagan series— this has long 
been recognised.^ But it will be as well to give up 
looking for the models exclusively in philosophical 
literature, although there may still be much to find 
there.^ The popular lists of virtues and vices are of 
more direct importance ; they show better than the 
philosophical texts what had really made its way 
among the people. Scattered in many museums we 
find specimens of the counters ' used in an ancient 
game resembhng draughts : one side of the counter 
bears a number (up to 25 or 30 or 40), and on the 
other side is a word addressed to a person, occasion- 
ally in verbal form, e.g. " Art thou glad ? " or " Thou 
wilt scarcely laugh," * but nearly always substantives 
or adjectives, generally in the vocative case. These 
give us a large number of popular names of vices * 
and virtues ; the Greek loan-words among the Latin 
lists show the Hellenistic influence, and the decidedly 
vulgar form of the Latin words indicates that the 
game was a popular one. Although we have not yet 
recovered all the counters necessary for the game, 
and the sequence of the counters is not yet certain, 
the parallels with St. Paul strike us immediately. 
Take, for instance, the list of vices ^ in 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, 
"Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers 

of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, 

revilers, extortioners." 

' The latest treatment of this subject, brief but excellent, is in H. Lietz- 
mann's commentary on Bom. i. (SandbucJi, zwn, N.T., III. p. 11). Abundant 
material was collected by Albrecht Dieterioh, Nehjia, Beitrage zur ErUarung 
der neuentdeckten Petrusapolialypse, Leipzig, 1893, p. 163 ff. 

■^ The astrologers, e.g. Vettius Valens, also furnish plenty of material. 

' Details in Chr. Huelsen, Tessere lusorie, Eomische Mitteilungen, 11 (1896) 
p. 227 fE. ; F. Bueoheler, Ehein. Museum, New Series, 52 (1897) p. 392 fE. 

* gaudesne, vix rides. 

' The vices greatly preponderate on. the counters that have been preserved. 

« Even Lietzmann (loc. cit.) considers this list to be purely Jewish. 


Vith the exception of " covetous," which is rather 
olourless, and " idolaters," which is not to be expected 
1 a pagan list, all these will be found substantially, 
rord for word, on the counters.^ 

The comic dramatists afford us help in completing 
hese popular lists of vices. No certain explanation 
las yet been given of the mention of such rare crimes 
,s parricide and matricide in the list of vices in 
. Tim. i. 9 f The text there enumerates : — 

" The lawless and disobedient, the ungodly and sinners, 
unholy and profane, murderers of fathers and murderers 
of mothers, manslayers, whoremongers, them that defile 
themselves with mankind, menstealers, liars, perjured 

!^ow compare the " scolding " of Ballio the pander in 
;he Pseudolus of Plautus ^ : quite a number of the 
nost characteristic terms of abuse in that popular 
icene occur again in St. Paul's list, either literally or 
n forms nearly synonymous.^ 
Nor is the parallelism between the New Testament 

' St. Paul : The counters : 

irbpvoi impudes (the n wanting as in Kfy/ia-Kiis, 2 Tim. iv. 10) 

Hoixol moice, moece 

fiaScLKoi patice 

dpffepoKotrat, ciTiaidus, oinaedus 

kWjitoi far 

fi40wrm ebriote and vvnose 

\ol3opoi trico ? 

Sp7ro76s arpax 

'he last word a/iTof was current as a loan-word in Latin comedy. In St. Paul 
t should probably not be translated "robber" but rendered by some other 
rord, like "swindler" ("extortioner," A.V., E.V.). "Robbers" were Xijo-toi, 
rith whom St. Paul became acquainted on his journeys (2 Cor. xi. 26). — For 
aXaKis of. letter No. 2 above, p. 150, n. 4. 

' Of. Hermann Usener, Italische Volksjustiz, Ehein. Museum, New Series, 56 
1901) p.-23fE. The passages in Wetstein, Novum Testamentum, II. p. 318 f., 
specially those from Pollux, afford a very interesting parallel to Plautus and 
t. Paul. 

[For note 3 see next page. 




and the world wanting in the corresponding lists of 
virtues. This is shown by comparing 2 Peter i. 5, 6 
with an inscription from Asia Minor, 1st cent. B.C., 
in honour of one Herostratus, the son of Dorcalion.^ 
The inscription mentions successively the faith, 
virtue, righteousness, godliness, and diligence of the 
person to be honoured ; and the apostle incites his 
readers to diligence in faith ( = behef), virtue, 
knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly 
kindness, and love.^ 

8. The correspondences we have noted so far relate 
only to isolated details of the popular religion and 
popular morality of the world contemporary with 
the apostolic texts. The cumulative effect even of 
such details should be sufficiently remarkable, but 

Dittenberger, Orientis Ghanci Inscii^tiones Selectae, No. 438. 

2 Peter : 
{TirovSijv irdcrav TrapeLffeviyKavres 
i'trixopvy^<TaTe iy r^ viffrei ii/uHv rijv 
iperiiv, Iv Si ry ipery rijv yidirai, iv Sk 
Tj yviiffa tV lyKpiraav, in Sk ry 
lyKpareiq, t^ji" iiro/juiVTiv, h> Si tq Inronov^ 
riiv eiiri^eiav, etc. 

SjiSpa iyaBbn yevbiitvoy xal SievhKavra 
vlirreL xai iperf Kal S[iic]oio(ri;»5 ko! 
eiffe^elai Koi . . . r>]v jrXc£irr[5i> ei<r- 
evuiveyiiivov UTovSiiv. 
Cf. also the remarks on the beginning of 2 Peter in BibeUtvdien, p. 277 fE. ; 
Bible Studies,^. 360 fE. 

Note 3 f roni previous page. 
» St. Paul: 

iffepin \ 
ivoclms J 

TarpoKipaiS koX 



Plautus : 


caenvM and 

parrioida. — verherasti patrem et matrem, to which the 
person abused (answers 'scornfully: atque oooidi 
quoque potius quam oilMm, praehiberem. 


pernities adnlescentum (this parallel is not certain) 




there are besides in the New Testament whole 
groups of thought, the pecuUar strength and beauty 
of which we can only appreciate from the vantage- 
ground of the ancient world. Recent discoveries 
have made it possible to reconstruct large portions 
of Hellenistic popular law, which was previously 
known only in miserable fragments, and this gives 
us an uncommonly valuable means of judging some 
of the figurative religious language of Primitive 
Christianity. It has of course long been known, and 
monographs have been written to prove, that St. 
Paul was strongly influenced by legal ideas ; but the 
fact was not sufficiently accounted for by comparisons 
either with Roman or with Jewish law, the latter, 
so far as the Diaspora was concerned, being probably 
for the most part a dead letter. We now receive help 
of a far different order from the law that was alive in 
the popular consciousness up and down the Hellenistic 
area in which the New Testament originated. A 
few examples will confirm this statement. 

The stupendous force of dogmatic tradition, and 
the fact that the word slave^ with its satellites has 
been translated servant, to the total effacement of 
its ancient significance, in our Bibles, have brought 
it about that one of the most original and at the 
same time most popular appraisals of the work of 
Christ by St. Paul and his school has been, T think, 
only vaguely understood among us.' I refer to the 

' In Luther's Bible the word " slave " {Slila/ee) does not occur once, although 
its equivalent is used times without numTber in the original (Old and New 
Testament). Kneoht, the word used by Luther, is not the same as " slave." 
[The B.V. rendering, " bondservant," in text and margin, has helped to correct 
the misapprehensions of English readers. "Slave" does occur in the A.V., 
but only twice : Jer. ii. 14, Bev. xviii. 13. Tb.] 

* Similarly the mistranslation of dia8-/iKi] as " covenant " instead of " testa- 
ment" has interfered with the right understanding of another great group 
of ideas. The blame in this case does not fall on Luther. 


metaphor of our redemption by Christ from the 
slavery of sin, the law, and idols — a metaphor in- 
fluenced by the customs and technical formulae of 
sacred manumissions in antiquity.^ I should like to 
illustrate a little more particularly this instance of 
St. Paul's having been influenced by the popular law 
of the world in which he Uved. 

Inscriptions at Delphi have been the principal 
means of enlightening us concerning the nature and 
ritual of manumission with a religious object in 
ancient times.^ The French archaeologists have dis- 
covered and published a vast number of records of 
manumission relating to several different centuries,' 
and particularly to that one which gave rise to the 
New Testament. After two thousand years the 
records stand to-day almost uninjured on the poly- 
gonal retaining-wall of the temple of Apollo (Fig. 49), 
the blocks of which seem, despite their bulk, to 

' Johannes Weiss, Die Cltrigtliche Freiheit naeh der Verltilndigung dea 
Apoiteli Pauhis, Gottingen, 1902, has the merit of bringing St. Paul's idea 
of freedom into connexion with ancient thought on the subject. But I think 
the author has gone to too high a bookshelf : the inscriptions, to be found 
among the folios at the bottom of the bookcase, are here more instructive 
than the philosophers on the higher shelves, just as we saw in the case of the 
lists of vices, p. 320 fC. above. I agree in thinking that St. Paul was influenced 
by popular philosophy, but I would lay stress on the mediation, mentioned 
by Weiss, of popidar culture, into which a great deal of philosophy had 

' The pioneer works were Bmestus Curtius, Aneedota Delpldea, Berolini, 
1843, pp. 10-47, 56-75, and P. Foueart, M6moire sur I'afEranchissement des 
esclaves par forme de vente k une divinitfe d'aprfis les inscriptions de Delphes 
(Archives des missions scientifiqnes, deuxiSme s6rie, t. III., Paris, 1866, 
pp. 375-424). Cf. also Ludwig Mitteis, Beichsreoht und Volksrecht in den 
iigtlichen Provinzen del romisehen Kaiserreiohg, Leipzig, 1891, p. 374ff. (a 
short account, but containing everything that is essential), and B. Schiirer 
Gesehielde des jiidisohen Volkei, III.' p. 53 f. There is much material on 
the subject of manumission customs in Gualterus Eensoh, De manumis- 
sionum titulis apud Thessalos, Diss. Phil. Halenses, XVIII. 2, Halis Saxonum, 


" Including two records of the manumission of Jewish slaves between 170 
and 157 B.C., probably prisoners from the Maccabaean wars, cf. Schiirer, 
III.' p. 27. 

"^^HH^^^^^^^n^Bfln^V Sh^^ y'"^^V ^^^^""^ 


t" ::Viie*jia 



, :f^' ■ i» 


■ ^^^^^^H^^^^H^' ^^^^^^^Sn. ' "ViV ^^l^^^l 

:'- -'M?^^ 

.. ^M*!^- ■: 

:S; ■; ^ 1^^^ 1 ^ ^-"f 

i ^B^BB^PEf^BBpr^MWff' 'i^^^i^'! a jHBhH^B 


:»^^^ '^im: 


sM''ii>m>^ "'i^^^' ' 

^^^^H^^hH "^^^'j^Ma^- . '!^>dH% 

' -'■ fc§ ■%■ 

■■^"^^*' ■ " t. wm^ 

.^^^ #;SJf'i? -fr : 

■:i":-;j- ' 

V' \i 


' . iH^P 

w i 


piT'^Tajw ^;Wmw^^^m 

.-•-:t.. ,r--^«*ii 


~ 5^ 



have collectively the ejBFect of a poem in stone. 
Climbing greenery and blue blossoms greet you 
from the joints of the stone if you read the texts in 

But these are not records of something pecuUar 
to Delphi. Manumission on religious grounds was 
practised all about Parnassus and probably through- 
out ancient Greece, and it even made its way into 
Jewish and Christian ecclesiastical custom. As 
examples from places outside Delphi I may refer to 
inscriptions at Physcus in Aetoha ^ (sale to Athene, 
2nd cent. B.C.), at Amphissa' (sale to Asclepius, 
Imperial period), and also in Cos * (sale to Adrastia 
and Nemesis [?], 2nd or 1st cent b.c.). Ernst Curtius * 
has collected records from Naupactus (sale to 
IDionysus), Chaeronia, Tithora, and Coronia (sale to 
Serapis), Chalia (sale to Apollo Nesiotes), Elatia 
and Stiris (sale to Asclepius), Daulis (sale to Athene 
Polias). Th. Macridy has pubhshed records from 
Notion.* We find this kind of manumission among 
Jews in two stone records from Panticapaeum,'^ , the 
first of which can be certainly dated 81 a.d. ; and 
there is a record ^ of great interest from Gorgippia, 

' On 22 and 23 May, 1906, 1 was able to see these highly important remains 
of ancient civilisation in situ (Fig. 49). The topographical remarks below 
(p. 333) are the result of my own observation on 12 May, 1906. 

^ Bulletin de Corirespondance Hell£nique, 22 (1898) p. 355. 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge^ No. 844. 

' Paton and Hicks, No. 29; and now Herzog, Kimohe Forichv/ngen vmA 
Fmide, p. 39 f. This is not a record of manumission, but manumission of a 
sacred character is mentioned in it. 

« Of. p. 324, n. 2 above. 

" Jahreshefte des Osterreiohischen Arohaologischen Institutes in Wien, 8 
(1905) p. 155. (Pointed out to me by Theodor Wiegand, postcard, Miletus, 
0. 26 May, 1908 ; and by Baron F. Hiller von Gaertringen, postcard, Berlin 
W., 4 June, 1908.) 

' Intcriptiones Antiqvae Orae Septentrionalis Ponti Uuasini, ed. Latyschev, 
Vol. II. Nos. 52 and 63. 

» Jbid. No. 400. 


41 A.D., referring to the cult of "the Most High 
God," These Jewish and Judaeo-pagan records ^ are 
of great importance in our problem, as sure proofs of 
the influence of the pagan rite on Jewish Hellenism^ 
in the time of the apostle Paul. FmaUy, it has long 
been recognised by experts that " manumission in the 
church"' was nothing but a Christianised form of 
the old Greek custom. 

But between the Greek usage and the practice 
of the early Church there stands St. Paul, who 
made the ancient custom the basis of one of his 
profoundest contemplations about the Christ. 

What was this custom ? Among the various 
ways in which the manumission of a slave could 
take place by ancient law^ we find the solemn rite 
of fictitious purchase of the slave by some divinity. 
The owner comes with the slave to the temple, 
sells him there to the god, and receives the purchase 
money from the temple treasury, the slave having 
previously paid it in there out of his savings. The 
slave is now the property of the god ; not, however, 
a slave of the temple, but a prot^g^ of the god. 
Against all the world, especially his former master, 
he is a completely free man; at the utmost a few 
pious obligations to his old master are imposed upon 

The rite takes place before witnesses ; a record is 
taken, and often perpetuated on stone. 

The usual form of these documents must have 

' See SchUrer, III.» p. 63 f. 

^ For a similar process in another field of. the prayers for vengeance from 
Rheneia (Appendix I. below, p. 423), which exhibit a secularisation of the 
Jewish ritnal for the expiation of an unexplained murder. 

• Manumissie in ecclesia, of. Gurtius, p. 26 f., and Mitteis, p. 375. 

' Cf. Mitteis, p. 372 S. The redemptio tervi stdg nwrnmis is discussed by 
Lothar von SeufEert, Der Loskauf von Sklaven mit ihrem Geld, Festschrift fiir 
die juristische Fakultat in Giessen, Giessen, 1907, pp. 1-20. 


been extremely well known, because they are so 
numerous. It is like this^: — 

Date. " N.N. sold to the Pythian Apollo a male slave 
named X.Y. at a price of — minae, for freedom (or on 
condition that he shall be free, etc.)." Then follow 
any special arrangements and the names of the witnesses. 

Another form, which does not occur elsewhere, 
but which makes the nature of the whole rite 
particularly plain, is furnished by an inscription^ of 
,200-199 B.C. on the polygonal wall at Delphi: — 

Date, iirpiaro 6 ^AtroXKiov 
6 Tlvdio<; irapa Sfoa-i^iov 
^AfKpiaa-eoi; ctt' iXevdepLai 
<TS)/i,[a]^ yvvaiKeiov, ai ovo/ia 
NiKata, rb yevo<; 'Pa)p,aiav, 

dpyvpiov fivav rpt&v Kal 
^fitfivaiov. irpoaTToSoTai; * Kara 
rov vofwv EiifivaaTo^ 
'Afi^ta-aevf. rav Tifiav 
anre')(€i. . rav oe mvav 
eiTLaTevae NiKaia rS>i 
'AttoWodvi iv' iXevQepLai. 

Date. Apollo the Pythian 
bought from Sosibius of Am- 
phissa, for freedom, a female 
slave,' whose name is Nicaea, 
by race a Roman, with a price 
of three minae of silver and a 
half-mina. Former seller * ac- 
cordingjto the law : Eumnastus 
of Amphissa.. The price he 
hath received.' The purchase,* 
however, Nicaea hath com- 
mitted unto A^Wo, for free- 

Names of witnesses, etc., follow. 

St. Paul is alluding to the custom referred to in 
these records when he speaks of our being made 
free by Christ. By nature we are slaves of sin ^ ; 

' The texts are so numerous that individual quotation is unnecessary, 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge,'' No. 845. ' For adim = "slave " see above, p. 151. 

* [■rpoa-roS6T7is, "previous vendor" (Liddell and Scott," 1901, wrongly 
"previous traitor"; but see Addenda), in inscriptions and papyri — xpoircDXijTTJi ; 
often coupled with pe/Sotior^p, " surety." Sosibius had bought Nicaea of 
Eumnastus, who thus became the guarantor of Sosibius' rightful ownership. Tb.] 

' For this dr^ej see p. 110 S, above. 

• Janell, Ausgewdhlte Insohnften, p. 107, wrongly translates "purchase 

' Bom. vi. 17, 20, 6, 19; Titus iii. 3. The passage in Rom. vi. 6, " that the 
body of sin might be destroyed," is ambiguous, since " body " (<rw/ua) may also 
mean " slave." 


I the Jew is furthermore a slave of the law/ the 
heathen a slave of his gods.^ We become free men 
by the fact that Christ buys us. And He has done 
so : — 

"Ye were bought with a price," 

says St. Paul in two places,' using the very formula 
of the records, "with a price."* Again, 

"For freedom did Christ set us free,' ... ye were 
called for freedom " ^ 

— in these words of St. Paul we have literally the 
other formula of the records.^ In numerous records 
of manumission the nature of the newly obtained 
liberty is illustrated by the enfranchised person's 
being expressly allowed henceforth to 

"do the things that he will.'" 

St. Paul, therefore, is referring to the danger of a 
relapse into servitude when he points to the possible 

' Gal. iv. 1-7, v. 1. 

" Gal. iv. 8, 9. 

' 1 Cor. vi. 20, vii. 23, niajs i/yopirOrtre. [d^opifeui is used of the purchase 
of slaves in the will of Attalus III., 133 B.C., Dittenberger, Orientis Graeei 
Insoriptiones Seleetae, No. SSS^,. For ri/ii}, "price," in the sale of a slave, 
of. also 1 Clem. Iv. 2.] The repetition of this brief, but expressive, and 
exceedingly popular saying leads us to imagine that it was a favourite watch- 
word also in the apostle's spoken sermons. Cf . also Gal. iv. 5, " to redeem 
them that were under the law " (i^a.yop&<STJ). 

* n/iTJs (ti/iSs) is quite a stereotyped expression in the records, of course with 
the addition of a definite sum. But Tt/i^s can also be used absolutely, as 
shown by the great document containing royal ordinances of Euergetes II., 
118 B.C., The Tebtunis Papyri, No. 5,g5, ,5^, J,, cf. the editorial note p. 50 f. 
Luther's translation "dearly bought" can hardly be right. St. Paul is not 
. emphasising the amount of the price, but the fact that the redemption has 
taken place. 

' Gal. V. 1, rri i\evBeplifiii>,ai X/MiTTds ijKevBipDxrev. 

« Gal. V. 13, eir' iXevBeplif ixX'^BriTe. 

' ^jt' iXevffspltf, cf. Curtius, pp. 17, 32. The formula is common at Delphi, 
Naupactus, and Tithora. Eensoh, p. 100, refers to Q. Foucart, De libertorum 
condicione, apud Athenienses, Lutetiae Parisiorum, 1896, p. 14 f. 

' irMwr a Ka Bikri, cf. Curtius, pp. 17, 39, and especially Mitteis, Beichsrecht 
und VolhsreoM, p. 390. 


result of the conflict between flesh and spirit with 
these words ^ : — 

" that ye may not do the things that ye would," 

Numerous manumissions, again, expressly forbid, 
sometimes under heavy penalties, that the en- 
franchised shall ever " be made a slave " ^ again. 
We now see how wicked is the intention of those ' 

" who . . . spy out our liberty, which we have in Christ 
Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage." 

And we understand warnings like this* in the 
letters : — 

" For freedom did Christ set us free : stand fast there- 
fore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage," 

and the still more moving exhortation^: — 

" Ye were bought with a price, become not slaves of 

Christians cannot become slaves of men because they 
have become " slaves of Christ " ® by purchase, and 
have entered into the " slavery of God " ^ or " of 
righteousness."' But, as in every other case of 
purchase by a god, the slave of Christ is at the 

' Gal. V. 17, iva itij & ii,v 6i\7rre raSra iroi^e. Note the context ; " under the 
law " (v. 18) also points to slavery. 

' KaraSovXlfeir or -eirffoi, and similar formulae, of. Curtius, p. 43. 

' Gal. ii. 4, KwraaKOTTJffai t^v i\evdepla,v i]iiCl>v Ijv ixop-^" ^ X/jmtt^ 'lri(rov, iva 
^H&s KaTaSov\(i<rov(riv. 

« Gal. V. 1. 

' 1 Cor. vil. 23. The allusion is to moral slavery to human lusts and desires. 
Christians should be slaves of the brethren. 

' The expression SoSXos XpurroS is so common in St. Paul that there is no 
need to give instances. It is not a consequence of the metaphor of manu- 
mission, but, though older than that metaphor, it fits in admirably with it. 

' Eom. vi. 22. 

» Bom. vi. 18. 


same time free : he is " the Lord's {i.e. Christ's) freed- 
man," ^ even when he is outwardly the slave of a human 
lord. When, further, in numerous documents this 
pious obligation is imposed upon the enfranchised 
slave ° : — 

" let him remain with N.N." (his former master), 

or when we hear occasionally^: — 

" let Cintus abide with Euphronius . , . behaving 

we are reminded of expressions in St. Paul, e.g. 

" let him abide with God," * 

and especially of this one : — 

" that which is decent, and attending upon the Lord 
without distraction." ' 

If this last example is not fiiUy parallel to the 
pagan formulae because the reference in St, Paul is 
to the new master, it corresponds nevertheless to the 
Jewish formulae of manumission from Panticapaeum,* 
which lay on the enfranchised slave the obligation 
to be loyal to the synagogue.' 

' areKeiSepo! Kvptov, 1 Cor. vii. 22. So also Curtius, p. 24, is of opinion that 
ithe ezpression " freedman of the god Aesculapius " (liiertug numims Aesoulapii) 
in a Latin inscription possibly originated in a sacred manumission. On 
St. Paul's expression see more below, p. 382. 

* Tapaiieivira and similar formulae, of. Curtius, p. 39 f. ; Mitteis, ReicksrecJit 
Jimd Volksreeht, p. 386 f. ; Eensob, p. 107 fE. A good example is the inscription 
from Delphi 173-2 B.C., Dittenberger, Sylloge^ No. 850, irapaiixa/iTw Si irapd 
''knivTtt.v SiuTi)pixos (ttj iieri) iveyK\^us, " but let Soterichus abide with Amyntas 
«ight years, blamelessly." 

' Inseriptiom recueillies d, BeljiJiet, publifies par C. Wesoher P. Fouoart, 
Paris, 1863, p. 65, No. 66, irapafieiviTa [Si] KIvtos irapi, Ei)0/)(ii'ioi' . . ■ 

* 1 Cor. vii. 24 (in close proximity to the principal passage, "ye were 
bought with a price "), umiTW irapi, 6e<f, 

' 1 Cor. vii. 35 (of. also " blamelessly " in the inscription quoted in note 2 
.above), t4 eilffxW'' *"' eiiripeSpaii t^ Kvplip iirtpisrir&aTiiK. 
' Page 325 above. 
' On the technical terms there used cf. p. 100 above. 


These parallels do not exhaust the cases in which 
the apostle took his stand on this custom of the 
ancient world. All that St. Paul and St. John^ have 
to say ahout freedom has this background ; but, most 
important of all, the frequently misunderstood con- 
ception of redemption^ i.e. huying-off and hence 
deliverance (from sin, the law, etc.), belongs, as 
St. Chrysostom knew and pointed out,' to the same 
■complex of ideas. The inscription of Cos, above 
referred to, uses this very word — a rare one — to 
describe sacral manumission.* 

St. Paul's predilection for this whole group of 
images would be most beautifully accounted for if we 
knew him to have been previously acquainted with the 
Greek form of our Lord's deeply significant saying 
about the ransovi.^ And we have no reason to doubt 
that he was.* But when anybody heard the Greek 
word Xvrpov, "ransom," in the first century, it was 

• Cf. especially John viii. 36, " if the Son shall make you free, ye shall he 
free indeed," a beautiful saying, quite in the character of St. Paul. The word 
'^ev9ep6u, which is here used, is found in innumerable documents of manu- 
mission. — The metaphor has been taken up also by other apostles, and in some 
■cases further elaborated. 

^ iiroMrpitKris. This rare word occurs seven times in St. Paul ! 

^ On Uomans iii. 24, xal oix airKQis elTre \vTfniffeus, dX\' oTroXirr/iiicreus, iIis 
jiTjKiTi Tiixas iiraveKBetv jrdXii' i-irl ripi air^v Sov\eiav, " and he said not simply 
^ ransoming ' Qytrosis) but ' ransoming away ' {apolytrom), so that we come 
not again into the same slavery" (cf. B. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testa- 
ment, 7th ed., London, 1871, p. 273). With this sentence from St. Chrysostom 
cf. the provisions in the records, as mentioned above, against reducing the man 
to slavery again. In Theophylact, a late writer, we find the old apostolic 
metaphor already varnished over (Trench, p. 274). Much material is given by 
Joseph Wirtz, Die Lehre von der ApolytroHs. Untersucht nach den heiligen 
Schriften und den griechischen Schriftstellern bis auf Origenes einschliesslich, 
Trier, 1906. Later ecclesiastical speculation generally inclined to the view 
that redemption from the slavery of Satan was meant. 

' It is called first iveXevdipains, and then diroMrpians (Herzog, p. 39 f .) : 
those who perform the dn-eXeud^puns are not to make formal record of the 
AiroKirpuni until the priests have reported that the necessary sacrifice has 
fceen made. See p. 325, n. 4. 

' Mark x. 45 = Matt. xx. 28, Xtfrpoc ivrl voKKdv, " a ransom for many." 

* 1 Tim. ii. 6 certainly sounds like an echo. 


natural for him to think of the purchase-money 
for manumitting slaves. Three documents* from 
Oxyrhynchus relating to manumissions in the years 
86, 100, and 91 or 107 a.d. make use of the word. 
"Under Zeus, Ge ( = Earth), HeUos ( = Sun) for a 
ransom,"^ is the phrase used in the first two documents, 
and it is not impossible that all three adumbrate 
traces of sacral manumission.* 

I refrain from entering into a criticism here of the 
remarkable obscurations and comphcations which 
this whole circle of ancient popular metaphors has 
undergone at the hands of modern dogmatic exegesis. 
I would rather point out that St. Paul, in expanding 
and adapting to the Greek world* the Master's old 
saying about ransom, was admirably meeting the 
requirements and the intellectual capacity of the 
lower classes. For the poor saints of Corinth, among 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri Nos. 48, 49, and 722. 

^ iifA Ala T^v 'RXiov irl Mrpms. The plural is most usual. The singular 
\6tpov for a slave's redemption-money is found several times (together with the 
plural Xirpa) in inscriptions from Thessaly, of. Eensch, p. 101 f. — On X&rpov (Xiirpo) 
cf . also Mitteis, Meicksreelit und Volhsrecht, p. 388, and especially a remarkable 
i nsoription on a votive relief from Kijres near Koula in Asia Minor (1894 in the 
Jtonai at Konla), printed in Buresoh, Aus Z/ydien, p. 197: PaXXi/cv 'Aff/tXijirids, 
Kci/iij Kepvj^iav, tolSL^xv AioYfrou \iTpov, "To Gallious ,[=the god Men], 
Asclepias (village of Ceryza), maidservant [ct. p. 186 n. 7 above ; Buresoh 
writes noSfcrxj;] of Liogenes (Diogenes !), presents this ransom." The word 
here probably means that Asclepias was releasing herself from a vow, Theodor 
Wiegand, who published the first picture of the stone in the Athenisohe 
Mitteilungen, 1904, p. 318, informs me (postcard, Miletus, e. 26 May, 1908) 
that the original now belongs to the collection of the Lyceum Hosianum at 

' Cf. Mitteis, Hermes, 34 (1899) p. 104, and U. Wilqken's remark there on a 
Christian document of manumission of the year 354 a.d. containing the 
formula " free under earth and heaven according to [kot', not Koi] the service 
due to God the compassionate." 

' It is a matter of great importance how gospel conceptions were eacpanded 
and adapted to the world, when we try to understand .Christianity as a world 
religion. The most important example is the expansion of the originally 
Palestinian word " the Christ" (=-the Messiah) into " Christ " as the world- 
wide name of God. Further details willbe found in a small work by me. Hie 
ZTrgescMoMe del Ckrigtenttims vm Zichte der Spraoliforschvmg, Tiibingen, 1910. 


whom there were certainly some slaves, he could not 
have found a more popular illustration ' of the past 
and present work of the Ijord. A Christian slave 
of Corinth going up the path to the Acrocorinthus 
about Eastertide, when St. Paul's letter arrived,^ 
would see towards the north-west the snowy peak of 
Parnassus rising clearer and clearer before him, and 
every one knew that within the circuit of that com- 
manding summit lay the shrines at which Apollo or 
Serapis or Asclepius the Healer bought slaves with a 
price, for freedom. Then in the evening assembly 
was read the letter lately received from Ephesus, and 
straightway the new Healer was present in spirit 
with His worshippers, giving them freedom from 
another slavery, redeeming with a price the bondmen 
of sin and the law — and that price no pious fiction, 
first received by Him out of the hard-earned denarii 
of the slave, but paid by Himself with the redemp- 
tion-money of His daily new self-sacrifice, rousing up 
for freedom those who languished in slavery. 

The question how this ancient metaphor of St. 
Paul's is to be interpreted in detail, I will merely 
mention. The chief point to examine is whether 
St. Paul regards redemption through Christ as a 
single summary act performed once for all in the 
past, or (and this is to me more probable) as an act 
of liberation experienced anew, in each single case 
of conversion, by every person newly incorporated in 
Christ. Further it may be asked whether the price 
is a necessary link in the chain of thought, or merely 
a pictorial detail of no ulterior significance. It is 
clear from 1 Peter i. 18, 19 that at a very early 
period the price was understood to be the Blood of 

' Of. 1 Cor. vii. 21 and the various names of slaves in 1 Cor. 

' The assumption is rendered probable by 1 Cor. xvi, 8 and v. 7, 8. 


Christ. The union of the idea of manumission with 
the idea of sacrifice was made easier for the ancient 
Christians by the fact that sacral manumission, e.g. 
at Cos, was not complete without sacrifice.^ Finally 
should be pointed out the affinity between the idea 
of redemption (manumission) and the idea of for- 
giveness (remission) of our trespasses which was 
established for the ancients by the legal procedure 
they were accustomed to. In cases of non-payment 
of a money debt the system of personal execution ^ 
allowed not only arrest but even slavery for debt.^ 

The series of Gospel and Primitive Christian 
metaphors to which we have thus alluded — metaphors 
connected with debt and forgiveness (or remission) — 
are likewise taken from the legal practice of antiquity, 
and might receive many an illustration from the new 
texts. I have pointed out elsewhere that the word 
6<f>€i\i], " debt," supposed to be peculiar to the New 
Testament, is quite current in the papyri.* So too there 
are plenty of original documents on papyrus to teach 
us the nature of an ancient acknowledgment of debt.^ 
A large number of ancient notes of hand have been 
pubhshed among the Berhner Griechische Urkunden, 
and probably every other collection of papyri contains 
some specimens. A stereotyped formula in these 
documents is the promise to pay back the borrowed 
money, "I will repay "^ and they aU are in the 

' Cf . p. 325, n. 4 above. 

2 Cf. p. 267 above. 

' Cf. L. Mitteis, ReickirecU rmi Volkirecht, pp. 358 f., 445 ffi., and M» 
observation on the Eeinach Papyrus No. 7 (see p. 267, n. 3 above). 

* Neue BiUlstvdien, p. 48 ; Bible Studies, p. 221. 

» Cf. Mitteis, Meiohsreoht vmd Volksreoht, pp. 484, 493 f.; Gradenwitz, 
Eimfuhrung, I. p. 109 fE. One technical expression, among others, for a 
memorandum of debt is the vford x^vhpa^""', "hand-writing," "a writing by 
hand," which is also used for other private contracts. 

" Generally iiroSilxru. 



Fig. 50. — Note of Hand for 100 Silver Drachmae, 
1st cent. A.D. Papyrus from the Fayflm. Now 
in the Berlin Museum. By permission of the 
Directors of the Royal Museums. 

[II. 33.5 


debtor's own hand,^ or, if he could not write, in 
the handwriting of another acting for him with the 
express remark, " I have written for him." Thus, 
for instance, in a very vulgar note of hand for lOO 
silver drachmae written in the Fayum^ in the first 
century a.d. for two people who could not write by 
one Papus, who was himself not much of a writer, 
we have (Figure 50 ') : — 

— [. . . . x]'*'/'^? SXKmv &v 
eypayfra v[prep auT]<»{/'''' arypafi- 


.... which we will also- 
repay .... with any other 
that we may owe .... I Papus 
wrote for him \sic; it should 
he them], who is not able to. 

It now becomes clear that St. Paul, who had 
playfully given the Philippians a sort of receipt,* is 
in the letter to Philemon (18 £) humorously writing^ 
on behalf of the runaway slave Onesimus an 
acknowledgment of debt to his master : — 

el Se Tt r/Biicrjaev tre rj o^ei- 
Xet, TovTO ifiol iWoya ^. iya> 
ITai)\o9 eypaijfa ry ip,fj xet/>t, 
£70) aTrona-w^. 

"If he hath wronged thee 
or oweth thee ought, put that 
on mine account. I Paul have- 
written it with mine own hand,, 
I will repay it." 

The parallelism between the legal formulae and the 
letters of St. Paul becomes still clearer when we 

' Hence the technical name, " hand-writing," " writing by hand " [cf . English 
" note of hand "]. See Ifeiie Bibehtudien, p. 67 ; Biile Stvdies, p. 247. 

' Berliner Grieohische Urkunden, No. 664. Wilcken recommends me, as- 
a Vietter example, the Oxyrhynohus Papyrus No. 269 (57 A.D.). 

" I am indebted for the photograph to the kindness of W. Sohubart. 

* Phil. iv. 18 ; cf. p. 112 above. 

' On this technical word, see p. 79 above. 

" On this word, which is much stronger than i,in5ili(Ta, cf. Gradenwitz, 
Eiiifiihrung, I. p.'85 ; also Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, August 1908,. 
p. 191 f. 


observe that the ancient note of hand generally took 
the form of a letter acknowledging the debt. 

Some ancient customs connected with the law of 
debt must be at the root of the celebrated passage 
in Col. ii. 14 where the technical expression " hand- 
miting " { = bond) is employed in a reUgious sense 
and brought into a remarkable connexion with the 
cross. Christ, says the apostle, has forgiven us all 
the debts incurred by our trespasses. Then, with 
a piling-up of cognate metaphors,^ the writer con- 
tinues : — 

i^aXeirilra^ to Ka6' fjfimv ;^et- 
poypa<pop . . . Kal avro ^pKev m 
Tov fj^eaov, Trpoarj'Kdxra'; avTo 
Tw erravpm. 

"Having blotted out the 
handwriting . . . that was 
against us . . . and He hath 
taken it out of the way, nail- 
ing it to the cross." 

"The handwriting nailed to the cross" — does that 
simply mean " it is crucified," i.e. dead, ineffective ? 
That would be possible. But probably the image is 
a much Uvelier one ^ : there must be an allusion to 
some custom which is not yet known to us. If we 
are unable to point to the soiu-ce of " the bond nailed 
to the cross " it may at least be allowed in passing to 
refer to "the cross on the bond." We have learnt 
from the new texts that it was generally customary 

' Sucli piled-up metaphors, not admirable in point of style, but not 
ineffiective in a popular sermon, often occur in St. Paul. 

2 It was at least a right instinct for the technical something that led many 
commentators to conjecture that bonds were cancelled in antiquity by perfora- 
tion with a nail. But, as far as I know, nail perforations are found only on 
inscribed leaden rolls, e.ff. the leaden tablet from Hadrumetum (Bibelstndien, 
frontispiece and p. 26 ; not given in Sible Studieii') ; but the nails were not 
meant to aimul the text. [On the use of nails in magic cf. Richard Wionsch, 
Antikes Zaubergerat aus Fergamon, Jahrbuch des- Kaiserlich Beutschen Arcb- 
iiologischen Instituts, Erganzungsheft 6, Berlin, 1905, p. 43 f.] Moreover, as 
Erich Haupt very rightly points out in his note on the passage (Meyer's 
Kommewtar, 8/9'-'-, Gottingen, 1902, p. 96), the main point with St. Paul is not 
the nailing in itself, but the nailing to the cross. 


to cancel a bond (or other document) by crossing it 
out with the Greek cross-letter Chi (X). In the 
splendid Florentine papyrus,^ of the year 85 a.d., of 
which use has been made before (Figure 41), the 
governor of Egypt gives this order in the course of a 
trial : — 

" Let the handwriting be crossed out." ^ 

The same technical word, x'^C<^f " I cross out," occurs 
in other similar contexts in papyri of New Testament 
age,' but the Florentine passage is especially valuable 
as showing that the custom of crossing out (which 
has endured down to our own day) was not a mere 
private one, but also official. We have moreover 
recovered the originals of a number of " crossed-out " * 
I.O.U.'s : there are several at Berlin,^ some at Heidel- 
berg,^ and in other collections. The subject is 
perhaps not without some bearing on the origin of 
later allegorical and mystical trifling with the cross- 
letter Chi among Christians. 

Starting once more from the I.O.U. formulae of the 
Epistle to Philemon we can touch on yet another 
conception of Hellenistic law which was early applied 
metaphorically within the Christian range of religious 

' No. 6l63f. ; p. 266 t above. 

' Kal iKiiyKevire t6 x"P['']7P''0<»' X""''^'?'"" ■ ^^^ 1^' ^"'0 l™es in the facsimile 
(Kg. 41). 

' Grenfell and Hunt, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Part II. p. 2i3, quote it as 
occurring in Nos. 362,5 C75 A.D.), 8685 (77-79 A.D.) ; they admit it in a restored 
reading, No. 266,5 (96 A.D.). 

' Of course tlie simple Chi is often somewhat altered, and no doubt other 
forms of erasure will be discovered. 

= Berliner Grieohische Urkunden, Nos. 101 (114 A.D.), 272 (138-139 A.D.), 
179 {t. Antoninus Pius). This last has been reproduced in facsimile and 
explained by Gradenwitz, Einfuhruiig in die Papyrmlmnde, I. frontispiece and 
p. 95 fE. [but see Wilcken, Deutsche Lit.-Ztg. 21 (1900) col. 2469.] It exhibits 
a whole network of Chi-strokes, like the Heidelberg specimens and the London 
Papyrus No. 386. 

' Nos. 80, and 26, unpublished. 



ideas, viz. the conception of agency. Here also the 
new texts have opened up quite new views. 

" Roman law, as is generally and according to the 
sources in the Corpus Juris rightly taught, gave on 
principle no recognition to direct agency, i.e. acting 
in the name and at the expense of the principal, in 
whose person arise the rights and duties resulting 
from the business. Certain exceptions, especially 
direct agency in. the acquisition of property, were 
gradually acknowledged, 'but the most important 
department of private law, that of obligatory contracts, 
remained entirely closed to direct agency.' " In these 
words Leopold Wenger ' sketched what was known 
of agency in antiquity before the papyri came to 
enlighten us. Afterwards he himself in a very 
informing monograph on Z>ie Stellvertretung im 
Rechte der Papyri^ worked up the material so far 
accessible in the newly discovered legal documents of 
Hellenistic and Roman Egypt, explaining from the 
original records, which are sometimes wonderfully 
well preserved, the facts concerning agency in public 
law, agency in actions, and agency in private law. It 
follows that the idea of agency must certainly have 
been one of the best-known elements of popular law 
in Egypt, and from many other analogies we may 
perhaps assume that Egypt, whose bundles of docu- 
ments have been re-discovered, is here also only the 
paradigm for the other portions of the former Empire 
of Alexander, whose records, so far as they relate 
to actions and private law, have almost entirely 

The supposition is perhaps confirmed by the use 

' Papyruxforsohvmg wnd BechUwissenioliaft, Graz, 1903, p. 26 f. At the end 
he is citing Josef Hupka, Die Vollmaeht, Leipzig, 1900, p. 7. 
' Leipzig, 1906. 


which St. Paul, the man of Asia Minor, makes of the 
idea of agency, which had certainly become dear to 
him also through his Jewish education.^ The wish 
expressed (Philemon 13) that Onesimus, the slave who 
has run away from his master Philemon at Colossae, 
and is now with St. Paul, might serve the apostle in 
his captivity as the agent ^ of Philemon, would be, 
if there is really a legal allusion here at all, ex- 
plainable even on Roman principles — the slave repre- 
sents his master.* But when St. Paul, after speaking 
of his convert Onesimus in verse 10 as his child, goes on 
to pledge himself for him financially in terms of a bond, 
this corresponds best to a father's agency for his son, 
as in the Greek law and Hellenistic law of the papyri.* 
Altogether, therefore, the idea of agency, which is 
employed in several important statements of St. Paul 
about the past and present work of Christ, cannot be 
regarded as a foreign body inside Hellenistic Primitive 
Christianity, but must be reckoned one of the many 
thoroughly popular means to make things plain which 
the earliest propaganda adopted. More important 
than single passages on the vicarious work of Jesus 
in the past is the general view taken of His vicarious 
present activity. This view, hinted at in the gospels,* 
was probably started by St. Paul ^ ; it grew to full 
maturity and attained classical formulation'^ in the 

' On agency in the religious contemplation and speculation of Judaism of. 
Ferdinand Weber, Jilduche Theologie anif Grund des Talmud nnd verwandter 
Sehriftem,? pp. 292 ff., 326 fE., 361. Here again one can see how closely the 
" Semitic " may come in contact with the Hellenistic in matters of culture. 

* That is the meaning of iirif trov in Philemon 13, just as in so many papyri 
the scribe representing an illiterate debtor writes iirip airod, " for him," " as 
his agent," e.g. p. 153 above, letter 3, and p. 335. 

' Cf. Wenger, Die Stellvertretung, p. 157 fE. * Ibid. pp. 169 f ., 235. 

» Mark xiii. 11 ; cf. Matt. x. 19 f. ; Luke xii. 11 f., xxi. 14 f. 

' As it happens, St. Paul has not used the word Paraclete in his letters ; but 
the idea is clearly there in Bom. viii. 26-34. 

' John xiT. 16, 26, xv. 26, xvi. 7; 1 John ii. 1. 


Johannine writings. Christ is our Paraclete, i.e. 
advocate, our representative in the trial, our inter- 
cessor, comforter. Again the new texts help us to 
understand what a thoroughly popular conception 
was covered by this primitive and deeply expressive 
element of our religious vocabulary. The work of 
the advocate in the Hellenistic world has been 
illustrated by Mitteis,^ Gradenwitz,^ and Wenger^ 
with so many speaking examples, notably the reports 
of actual cases, which have lost nothing of their fresh- 
ness and colour, that it has become simply tangibly 
clear.* It should be specially pointed out that the 
Pauhne formula " through Christ," so often wrongly 
explained, but recognised by Adolph Schettler^ in 
its true character and relative unambiguity, is in 
many passages intelligible only if we start from the 
thought of the Paraclete.^ 

Much more might be said about the background of 
the New Testament figurative language, but I am 
not aiming here at completeness of statement. I am 
content to have shown by some examples^ the im- 
portance of the whole subject. Perhaps the most 

• ReicharecU und Volksrecht, pp. 150, 189 fE. 

" Mnfuhrwng, I. pi 152 fE. 

= Die Stellvertrettmg, pp. 123 fE., 150 fE. , 

' For Asia cf. Dio Ohrysostom, Or. 35, 15 (von Arnim, p. 335 f.).— The 
popularity of this particular word is perhaps best shown by the fact that it has 
gone over as a borrowed word into Hebrew and Aramaic. 

' Die paulinische Forniel "JOivreh Christus," Tubingen, 1907. 

» Cf. p. 123 n. 16 above, and Schettler, p. 28 f. 

' I have given other examples elsewhere already ; cf . the notes on adoption, 
JVezie Bibelstiidien, p. 66 f., Bible Studies, p. 239 ; on evietio and arrha, Bihel- 
stvdien, p. 100 f., Neite Bibelstudien, p. 56, BiiUs Studies, pp. 108 f., 183 f., 
230 (also Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, Sept. 1908, p. 280) ; on iyyapeia, 
B. St., p. 81 f., B. Studies, p. 86 f . ; i^la/M, B. St., p. 871, B. Studies, p. 92f. ; 
tiypavToi, B. St., p. 109 f., N. B. St., p. 77 f., B. Studies, pp. 112 f., 249 f.; 
Skoios, B. St., p. 1121, B. Studies, p. 1151 (also Moulton and Milligan, The 
Expositor, Dec. 1908, p. 5651); ek t4 tvo/m, p. 123 above; ^creufis, B. St., 
pp. 1171, 143, B. Studies, pp. 121, 146; trp&KTup, B. St., p. 152, B. Studies, 
p. 154; wpeapiTipoi, B. St., p. 153 fE., Jf. B. St., p. 60fE., B. Studies, pp. 1541, 


necessary investigation still waiting to be made is 

that relating to the word BLadrJKy), which so many 

scholars translate unhesitatingly " covenant." Now 

as the new texts help us generally to reconstruct 

Hellenistic family law and the law of inheritance, so 

in particular our knowledge of Hellenistic wills has 

been wonderfully increased by a number of originals 

on stone or papyrus. There is ample material to 

back me in the statement that no one in the 

Mediterranean world in the first century a.d. would 

have thought of finding in the word SiaOiJKr) the idea 

of " covenant." St. Paul would not, and in fact did 

not. To St. Paul the word meant what it meant in 

his Greek Old Testament, " a unilateral enactment," 

in particular " a will or testament." This one point 

concerns more than the merely superficial question 

whether we are to write " New Testament " or " New 

Covenant " on the title-page of the sacred volume ; it 

becomes ultimately the great question of all reUgious 

history : a reMgion of grace, or a religion of works ? 

It involves the alternative, was Pauhne Christianity 

Augustinian or Pelagian ? ^ 

233 f.; eis dBhticnv, iV. S. St., p. 55 f., S. Studies, p. 228 f.; dxardyyaaTos, 
jr. B. St., p. 28 f., p. Studies, p. 200; iv6Kpi/M, N. B. St., p. 85, B. Studies, 
p. 257 (also Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, Aug. 1908, p. 187) ; i/ifiiya, 
N. B. St., p. 76 f., B. Studies, p. 248 f. ; t4 iiripAWov fiipos. If. B. St., p. 57, 
B. Studies, p. 230; Mrkowos, iV. B. St., p. 57 f., B. Studies, pp. 156, 230 f. ; 
irpayfta, N. B. St., p. 60, B. Studies, p. 233; ix av/u/iiivov, 2r. B. St.,Tp. 82 f., 
B. StVfdies, p. 255 ; r-^prins, iV. B. St., p. 95, B. Studies, p. 267 ; x^p'foA"". 
JV. B. St., p. 67, B. Studies, p. 247. Several new examples are given in 
Chapters II. and III. of this book. 

' See the hints in my little sketch, Die Sellenisierung des semitisehen Mono- 
theismus, Leipzig, 1903, p. 175 [15]. Future investigators will find matter 
of great importance in Eduard Eiggenbaoh's " Der BegriS der AIA6HKH im 
Hebraerbrief " in Theologisohe Studien Theodor Zahn zum 10 Oktober 1908 
dargebracht, Leipzig, 1908, pp. 289-816. Of. also Moulton and Milligan, The 
Expositor, Dec. 1908, pp. 563, 565. Frederick Owen Norton's "Lexicographical 
and Historical Study of AIA6HEH from the earliest times to the end of the 
classical period," Chicago, 1908, does not get far enough to deal with the period 
of the Greek Bible. 


9. Closely connected with the lower classes by the 
ties of popular language and non-literary culture, by 
the reahsm of religious imagery, by popular morality 
and popular law, Primitive Christianity displays more- 
over in one group of its most characteristic utterances 
a tone that might be interpreted as one of protest 
against the upper classes, and which certainly has 
that effect, although it arose less from conscious 
political or social antipathies than from the passionate 
determination of the monotheistic cult of Christ to 
tolerate no compromises. I mean the strongly pro- 
nounced tone of protest against the worship of the 
Caesar.^ In so far as the religious adoration of the 
sovereign is the crown and summit of the culture 
of the ruling classes,^ the Primitive Christian abhor- 
rence of emperor worship does form an upper line 
of demarcation, and in course of time it unites here 
and there with those political and social instincts 
of the oppressed which had long been present in 

Politically the earliest Christianity was compara- 
tively indiflFerent,' not as Christianity, but as a 
movement among the humble classes, whose lot had 
undoubtedly been on the whole improved by the 
Imperium. The fire of national hatred of the 
foreigner which smouldered in Palestine remained 
practically confined to this area, and seems to have 
gained no hold among the disciples of Jesus at 

' H. A. A. Kennedy's "Apostolic Preaching and Emperor Worship," The 
Expositor, April 1909, pp. 289-307, takes a similar view. His article was 
written before the publication of this book (letter, Toronto, 13 October, 1908). 

" Cf. the brief but comprehensive account of emperor worship by U. von 
Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, " Gesohichte der griechisohen Religion " in the 
Jahrbuch des Freien Deutschen Hochstifts, 1904, Frankfurt am Main, p. 23 ff. 

' Heinrioh Weinel, in his otherwise excellent work,2>ie Stelhmg des TTrehrUten- 
tumt zitm Stoat, Tiibingen, 1908, exaggerates the political antipathies of the 
earliest Christianity. 


the outset. Their opponents were none other than 
His opponents, viz, the leaders of the nation itself, 
and the expectation of the coming kingdom of God 
is much more of a polemic against the Scribes and 
Pharisees than against the Romans. 

St. Paul, too, in spite of occasional conflicts with 
Roman officials on his journeys, had probably in 
his own person more often experienced the blessings 
than the burdensome constraint of State organisation. 
In what was to him personally the most momentous 
legal affair of his life he asserted his rights as a citizen ^ 
and appealed to the Caesar. He sees no theoretical 
difficulties in all the small political questions that 
affect the humble individual: to respect and pray 
for the powers in authority is as natural to him as 
the payment of tribute and custom'.^ It is no right 
view of the subject to say that Paul was indifferent 
to political problems because of his religious expecta- 
tions of a coming end; if anything, those expectations 
were calculated to make him interested in politics. 
The fact is that political interest and political activity 
were on the whole remote from the class to which 
he belonged. The comparatively marked indifference 
of St. Paul to politics is not specifically connected 
with Primitive Christianity, its causes are secular and 

AU the more sensitive, however, was Primitive 
Christianity in its own most special field, the religious, 
on which all its passion was concentrated. The 
deification of the Caesars was an abomination to 

' Acts xxii. 27. On the whole subject cf. Theodor Mommsen, " Die Eeohts- 
Terhaltnisse des Apostels Paulus," Zeitschrift fur die neutestamentliche 
Wissenschaft, 2 (1901) p. 81 fE. 

' The first volume of Wiloken's Griechitehe Ostraka, with its evidence of 
218 different kinds of dues payable in Egypt, is a splendid commentary 
on Bom. xiii. 7. 


Christianity from the beginning. It is very probable 
that this antipathy was inherited by the daughter 
from monotheistic Judaism. In those words of quiet 
delicacy in which Jesus names both the Caesar and 
God, we see already the place reserved for God 
which belongs to Him alone.^ Two generations 
later the Book of the Revelation, coming from the 
classical land of emperor worship, gives most powerful 
voice to the religious contrast^, which by that time 
was heightened by the political resentment of the 
oppressed. This access of passion would be histori- 
cally unintelligible were it not for the years that lie 
between the calm dignity of Jesus and the volcanic 
ardour of the Apocalypse. With the lapse of time, 
the religious antithesis must have been felt more 
and more acutely until at length imprinted on the 
Christian conscience in indelible characters. 

And so it really was. If it has not been seen 
before, that is because the literary sources of the 
Imperial age are particularly deficient on the point. 
The new texts, however — some of which are them- 
selves direct evidence of the cult of the Caesar — enable 
us to judge of the feelings aroused by exhibitions 
of the cult of the sovereign even at the time of 
St. Paul's mission in the minds of those who had 
nothing but their God in Christ and their con- 

It must not be supposed that St, Paul and his 
fellow-believers went through the world blindfolded, 
unaffected by what was then moving the minds of 
men in great cities. These pages, I think, have 
already shown by many examples how much the 
New Testament is a book of the Imperial age. We 
may certainly take it for granted that the Christians 

' Cf. p. 247 above. 

Fig. 51. — Original Limestone Plate (c/io- 
Tayma) inscribed with the seal of Augustus. 
Egypt, 5-6 A.D. Now in the Berlin Museum. 
By permission of the Directors of the Koyal 

[p. S45 


of the early Imperial period were familiar with the 
institutions and customs that the Empire had brought 
with it. That they were familiar even with apparently 
out-of-the-way points is shown, for instance, by the 
allusion in Rev. xiii. 16 f. to the custom, now known 
to us from the papyri, of imprinting on deeds of 
sale and similar documents a stamp which contained 
the name and regnal year of the Emperor and was 
called, as in the Revelation, a charagma. To the 
examples previously given ^ from Augustus to Trajan 
there now comes a welcome addition in the form 
of an imperial stamp affixed to documents ^ from the 
Fayum, dated 48 a.d. As a concrete illustration 
I reproduce^ here an actual-size facsimile of one 
of the original stamps, a soft plate of limestone now 
in the Berlin Museum (Figure 51). The legend, the 
letters of which are of course reversed, runs : — 

L A'C K.aiaapo'i 
yp{a(j)eiov ?) 

In the 35th year of the Emperor 
Scribe's chamber (?) 

If such superficial details were known among the 
people, how much more so the deification of the 
emperor, with its glittering and gorgeous store of 
the very loftiest terms employed in worship, com- 
pelling every, monotheistic conscience to most powerful 
reaction ! Such jewels were never intended for mortal 
brow ! And so from out the despised mass of the 
unknown Many the hard and deformed hands of 
the saints in Christ stretch forth and appro- 
priate from the crown of the Caesars such old and 
new divine insignia as offered, and deck therewith 
their Son of God, whose they are, because before 

' 2Veue Sibelgtudien, pp. 68-75 ; Bible Studies, p. 240 f. ; cf. also Wilcken, 
Archiv I. Papyrusforschung, 1, p. 76, and J. C. Naber, iWd. pp. 85 f., 316 ff. 
'' Berliner Griechische Urknnden, No. 748. 
' Neue Bibelstudien, p. 71 ; cf. Bible Stvdies, p. 243. 


He was set over them He had stood beside them ; 
who became poor with the poor, who humbled Him- 
self with the lowly and humble and had lived sub- 
missively in the likeness of a slave, and who after a 
shameful death on the cross had been raised by God 
and had received a name which is above all names. ^ 

And that is what we may actually observe. The 
cult of Christ goes forth into the world of the 
Mediterranean and soon displays the endeavour to 
reserve for Christ the words already in use for 
worship in that world, words that had just been 
transferred to the deified emperors or had perhaps 
even been newly invented in emperor worship. Thus 
there arises a polemical parallelism between the cult 
of the emperor and the cult of Christ, which makes 
itself felt where ancient words derived by Christianity 
from the treasury of the Septuagint and the Gospels 
happen to coincide with solemn concepts of the 
Imperial cult which sounded the same or similar. 

In many cases this polemical parallelism, which is 
a clear prophecy of the coming centuries of martyrdom, 
may be established by very ancient witness. In other 
cases the word which corresponds with the Primitive 
Christian term of worship may turn up only in later 
texts relating to the cult of the emperors. It could 
hardly be otherwise considering the fragmentary 
nature of the tradition.^ I am sure that in certain 

' 2 Cor. viii. 9 ; Phil. ii. 5-11. These two passages certainly give the 
strongest outlines of Pauline " Christology," at any rate those most efEective 
with a popular auditory. 

' The New Testament also uses technical terms of contemporary con- 
stitutional law which by accident are not known to us from other sources 
until later, e.g. Acts xxv. 21, eis r^v rod Sc^airToS Sidyvanv, " for the decision 
of Augustus." Siiyvaais is a technical expression for the Latin eognitio, but 
is not found elsewhere until the end of the 2nd cent. a.d. in the title of 
an official in a Eoman inscription, Interi^iiones Oraecae, XIV. No. 1072 (also 
with the genitive toO Se/Soo-ToO, as in the Acts), M . . . Siayviiireav toO 
2e/So<rTo5, "a . . . cognitionibus Augusti." 


cases a polemical intention against the cult of the 
emperor cannot be proved ; but mere chance coinci- 
dences might later awaken a powerful sense of 
contrast in the mind of the people. 

It cannot be my task to collect together the whole 
gigantic mass of material in even approximate com- 
pleteness ; I can only offer a selection of characteristic 
parallelisms. Those versed in the subject will agree 
with me that it is not always possible in such cases 
to distinguish between the Imperial cult and the 
Imperial law ; the Imperial cult was in fact a portion 
of the law of the constitution. 

The work, already referred to,^ of David Magie on 
the official formulae of the Imperial age is of great 
help here. It does not, however, in the least exhaust 
the epigraphical and papyrological material ; by far 
the larger number of my examples are derived from 
my own reading of the texts. 

I begin with the family of ideas which groups itself 
round the word 6e.6<i, " God." There can be no 
question of any kind of Christian borrowings jfirom the 
language of the Imperial cult, because both the cult of 
Christ and the cult of the emperor derive their divine 
predicates from the treasure-house of the past. But 
the words compounded with or derived from " God " 
in the Imperial cult were the most likely to arouse 
the sensation of contrast ; they were known to every 
plain Christian man by reason of their frequent 
occurrence, and their lack of all ambiguity brought 
even the very simplest souls, in fact the very simplest 
souls rather than others, into the most painful con- 
scientious difficulties. Even St. Paul declared one of 
the signs of Antichrist to be that he would proclaim 
himself as God.^ We may leave to themselves all 

' Page 113, n. 2. '2 Thess. ii. i. 


the minuter side-issues, e.g. the date when the divine 
titles were first bestowed on the hving sovereign. 
As we are specially concerned with what the Primitive 
Christians felt, we need only point out that the 
problem of this contrast is older than the Imperial 
period. Under the successors of Alexander, who 
handed on to the Empire ready-made all the essential 
forms used in the adoration of the sovereign, exactly 
the same problem confronted the pious Jew into 
whose hands fell, let us say, the coins of the 
Seleucidae ^ with the legend " God " upon them applied 
to the kings. The Imperial age strengthened the 
feeling of contrast, since all the titles formerly be- 
stowed on the various smaller rulers were now con- 
centrated on one great ruler, and the conjecture 
made above ^ that the apocalyptic number 616 means 
" Caesar God " * appears in this connexion fairly 

A few examples will show with what force 
those titles must have struck upon a monotheistic 
conscience. In an official inscription* the town 
council of Ephesus, in conjunction with other Greek 
cities of Asia, spoke of Julius Caesar, who was 
then Dictator, as "the God made manifest, off- 

' To take one example out of many: a coin of the city of Aradus in 
Phoenicia has the legend Bao-iA^us Aij/ii;T/)£ou fleoD <^i.\aSi\<pov SiicdTopos 
(Demetrius II., Nicator, 144 b.o.), Journal intemat. d'^rchgologie numis- 
matique, 3 (1900) p. 148. The title "god" was however applied to Antioohus II. 
in the .3rd cent. B.C., cf . J. Eouvier, iiid. p. 146 ; also to Antiochus IV. Epiphanes, 
ibid, i (1901) p. 202.— Ptolemaic parallels are very plentiful.— The Attalidae of 
Pergamum seem to have been less assuming (Max L. Straok, Eheinisohes 
Museum, New Series, 55 [1900] p. 180 f.).— The best account of the whole matter 
is given by E. Kornemann, " Zur Geschichte der antiken Herrscherkulte," 
Beitrage zur alten Geschichte [Klio] 1, pp. 51-146. ' Page 277, n. 1. 

' Kaio-op 9e6s. The word " Caesar " of course means " Emperor " here. 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge," No. 347, tAk irb 'Apeus Kal 'A0poJe[<]r)is Seby imtpavri 
Kal KOtyir roO aveptorlrov piov awTTjpa. The combination of awrfip and deis, 
which is also used of Augustus, Inschriften von Olympia, No. 53 [quoted by 
Wendland, Zeitschrift f. d. neutest. Wissensohaft, 5 (1904) p. 342], is much 



"'-'p^,.^-=r^=rf^ Vrxij 

^^r~ — ''■-i.^is™^ 



. N__. 

Tf " /""""'' 




kHf opoykmhoaiaaox 

,T1K Q Yi: A nn-NAlAE K A ^J 

^M lAt SYrATePAr^^^. ee a^ 

i EKroNHTl)rAKAHMENT03:K>\jrS 
/ ll'^BaElAt^^^EMr^o\lt^^^:g/»■ll'o^li:^fNTB 

Fig. 52. — Marble Pedestal from Pergamum with an 
Inscription in honour of a Priestess of Athene. Imperial 
Period. Now in the Berlin Museum. By permission 
of the Directors of the Royal Museums. 

tp. 349 


spring of Ares and Aphrodite, and common saviour 
of human life." An inscription from Socnopaei 
Nesus in the Fayfim, dated 17 March, 24 b.c, gives 
to Augustus the title " god of god " ^ ; the calendar 
inscription of Priene (Figure 60) speaks of the birth- 
day of Augustus simply as the birthday "of the 
god " ^ ; and, to mention one very remarkable instance 
from the time of St. Paul, Nero is actually called, in 
a votive inscription ' of the before-mentioned * Gaius 
Stertinius Xenophon of Cos, "the good god," w^ith 
which, for the sake of the contrast, one may compare 
the classical saying in the gospel,^ " There is no man 
good, but one, that is God." Further quotations 
for the title " god " are unnecessary ; the nets break 
if we try to get them all.^ Merely as an ocular 
demonstration of the way in which the inscriptions 
dinned this term of worship every day into the 
ears of every one that could read, I reproduce here 
an inscription of the Imperial age from Pergamum ' 

older: a votive ofEering at Halicarnassus, 3rd cent. B.C. (JVte Collection of 
Ancient 6ree% Inscriptions in the British Museum, IV. 1, No. 906), is dedicated 
to the honour " of Ptolemy the saviour and god," UToKepalov rod o-wr^pos kbI 
6eov. The double form " God and Saviour " afterwards became important in 
early Christian usage. 

' Dittenberger, Oi-ientis Graeei Inscriptiones Seleotae, No. 655, fleoO iK $eov. 
This formula is Ptolemaic (cf. the Rosetta Stone in honour of Ptolemy V. 
Epiphanes, iMd. No. SOk,, ivApx"' 9ei>s ix ffeoD ical 0eS,s KaSdirep 'Opos 6 ttjs "Icrios 
KcU 'Oalpios vl6t, " he is god of god and of goddess, as Horus the son of Isis 
and Osiris ") and becomes very important later in Christianity. 

^ Inschriften von Priene, No. 10540t. [v Vex^SXios] toO 6eo0. 

' Paton and Hicks, No. 92; of. Herzog, Koische Forsohmigen und Funde, 
p. 196, &ya,8if 9((p. No other example of this title for an emperor is known 
at present. 

* Cf. pp. 248, 294 above. 

"Mark x. 18 = Luke xviii. 19 (of. Matt. xix. 17), o68sls Ayadbi el /iii 
ets 6 8e6s. ■- 

' Many instances from a single city, in Thieme, Die Insclwiften von 
Magnesia am Maa/nder wnd das Netie Testament, p. 28. 

' Die Inschriften von Pergamon, No. 523. The facsimile (Figure 52) is 
reproduced by kind permission of the Directors of the Eoyal Museums, 
Berlin. Cf. also Pig. 53. 


(Figure 52) which mentions in line 10 a Hymnodus 
of the god Augustus, and in line 14 f. a priestess of 
the goddess Faustina (wife of the Emperor Marcus 

I have already treated of the title deov vios, "son 
of God," in another place.^ I remember discussing 
with a librarian friend of mine the fact that in many 
inscriptions and papyri of the Greek East Augustus ^ 
is called "the son of a god." My friend, a classical 
scholar, smiled benignly and said there could be no 
significance in that, " for " it was a translation of the 
Latin divi filius. I do not think that a Christian 
out of one of St. Paul's churches would have smiled 
at the expression or have considered it non-signifi- 
cant.' St. Paul's preaching of the " son of God " had 
so quickened his religious feeUngs that he was bound 
to protest against the adornment of any other with 
the sacred formula. New individual quotations are 
unnecessary here; I give, again for ocular demonstra- 
tion, only two inscriptions. Five fragments of a 
marble pedestal from Pergamum* (Figure 53) bear 
this inscription, which was put up in honour ol 
Augustus while he was still alive: — 

[_AvTOKpdT\op\a Kjaiaapa [_ff]eov vcov deov Xe^a(TTo\y'\ 
[ttcmtt;?] 'fq[<! ic]al 0[a]\ao-(7579 [€]7r[o7r]T[r;i;] 

The Emperor, Caesar, son of a god, the god Augustus, 
of every land and sea the overseer. 

' Bihehtvdien, p. 166 f . ; Sible Studies, p. 166 f . Friedrich Pfister, 
Siidwestdeutsohe Schulblatter, 25 (1908) p. 345 f., tries to account for the 
legend that Augustus dedicated an altar to Christ the Son of God by supposing 
that a votive inscription dedicated to the Emperor as " the son of a god " was 

- Also his successors, with the name of their divine father inserted. 

' Cf. U. von Wilaraowitz-Moelleudorff, Jahrbuoh des Freien Deutschen 
Hochstifts, 1904, p. 24 : " Whoever regards the divi filius as empty ornament, 
or fraud, does not understand either the time or the man (Augustus)." 

* Die Inschriften von Pergamon, No. 381. The facsimile (Fig. 53) is 
reproduced with authority from the Directors of the Boyal Museums at Berlin. 















1— ( 













g pq 



















1— 1 









FiGf. 54.— Marble Slab from Magnesia on the Maeander with a Votive Inscription for Nero, 
30-54 A.D. Original at Pergamum ; plaster cast in the Berlin Museum. By permission of the 
Directors of the Boyal Museums. 

[J.. 361 


" Overseer " as a title of honour in this inscription 
recalls the use of the same word as a predicate of 
God in Judaism and Primitive Christianity.^ 

Then an example of St. Paul's time — a votive 
inscription for Nero on a marble slab at Magnesia 
on the Maeander^ (Figure 54), between his adoption 
by Claudius and his accession to the throne (50 and 
54 A.D.). Nero is called (line 3fF.) "Son of the 
greatest pf the gods, Tiberius Claudius," etc.^ 

The adjective ^eios, "divine," belonging to the 
same family-group of meanings, is, like the Latin 
divinus, very common * in the sense of " Imperial " 
throughout the whole Imperial period. So firmly 
had it established itself in the language of the 
court that it is found even in the period when 
Christianity was the religion of the State — a period 
far removed from the Primitive Christian standard 
of conscience. I will give but one example from 
the earliest, and a few from the later and latest 
period.^ The calendar inscription of Priene (Figure 
59), about 9 B.C., speaks of the birthday of Augustus 
"the most divine Caesar."* The usage continues 
through the centuries, e.g. in the phrases' "divine 
commandments," "divine writings," "divine grace." 
In the third volume of Greek Papyri in the British 
Museum^ we have no less than ten documents in 

' ivtmrrt! used of God in Additions to Esther v. 1 (xv. 2) ; 2 Maoo. iii. 39, 
vii. .35 ; 3 Ma<!c. ii. 21 ; and Clem. Eom. 1 Cor. lix. 3. Cf. p. 429 below. 

2 JHe Imchriften, von Magnesia am Mdander, No. 157b ; the facsimile (Plate 
Tin.) is here reproduced (Fig. 54) by kind permission of the Directors 
of the Royal Museums, Berlin. The text on the left of the plate belongs to 
another inscription. 

' Tb» vliv ToO /xeytarou deCm Tipeplov KXavSlov, etc. Cf. Thieme, Die Imchriften 
von Magnesia a/m Mdamder imd das Ne^ie Testamient, p. 33. 

* I cannot understand why Magie (p. 31) says the word was seldom used. 

• Cf . p. 87 above, and Nem Bibelstvdien, p. 45 (= Bible Sfudies, p. 218). 
' Inschriften von Priene, No. 105j2, roO SiiariTov Kaiirapo[s]. 

' Cf . hiToMi, ypi/i/jmra, below, p. 380 f . 
' See the index of that volume, p. 333. 


which Christian emperors are called " our most 
divine Lord " ^ — Justinian twice, 558 and 561 a.d. ; 
Justin II. four times, 567, 568, 571, 576; Tiberius II. 
twice, 582 ; Maurice once, 583 ; Heraclius once, 683 
A.D. Similarly we find ^etdriys, " divinity," used 
of the (Christian) Emperor's majesty,^ this also, of 
course, being taken over from the old language of 
religious observance. 

In this connexion some light is perhaps thrown on 
the old title ^eoXdyos, "the theologian," bestowed 
on the author of the Apocalypse. The weU-known 
explanation, that he was so called because he taught 
the divinity of the Logos, is so obviously a little 
discovery of later doctrinaires, that it does not merit 
serious discussion. The title is much more likely 
to have been borrowed from the Imperial cult. The 
theohgi, of whom there were organised associations, 
were quite well-known dignitaries in the Imperial 
cult of Asia Minor, against which the Apocalypse 
protests so strongly. I have given the quotations 
elsewhere,^ and it is significant that the examples 
come from the very cities mentioned in the Apoca- 
lypse, Pergamum, Smyrna, Ephesus. When we 
further consider that these "theologians," whom 
we may probably regard as the official special 
preachers in connexion with the Imperial cult in 
Asia Minor, were often Hymnodi* at the same 

' Tou eaordrov 7i/j,Siv SbitiAtou. The superlative is still used as under 

' 6freeJi Papyri in the SrltUJi Museum, Vol. II. p. 273, No. 233 (345 A.D,). 
Other quotations in B. A. Sophocles, Greek Lexicon, p. 572. 

' Neue Bibeldudwn, p. 58 f. ; Bible 8tadies, p. 231 f , Cf. also Wilhelm Weber, 
Vntersuehumgen %w Gesohiohte des Kaisers BodriariMS, pp. 140, 214. 

* Eeferences, ibid. The Greek expression is iiuiifSbi, " singer of hymns," e.g. 
Die Insohi>ften von Pergamon, No. 523,|„ Figure 62 above, p. 349. Minute 
details of the functions of the Hymnodi are given in the Pergamum inscription 
No. 374, which has been excellently commented on by Max Frtokel, and^ two 
portions of it are facsimiled below (Figs. 57 and 58). Hugo Koch, writing 


time, the borrowing of the title becomes all the 
more intelligible. John the Theologian, the herald ^ 
of the true and only ^ God, is at the same time His 
great Hymnodus, leader of the choir of those who 
sing " a new ode " ^ and " the ode of Moses, the 
slave of God, and the ode of the Lamb," * 

Most important of all is the early establishment 
of a polemical parallelism between the cult of Christ 
and the cult of Caesar in the application of the term 
Kvpio s, " lord." The new texts have here furnished 
quite astonishing revelations.* 

It was previously known that Augustus and 
Tiberius had scorned the title of "lord," because 
it directly contradicted the Roman conception of the 
empire as a " principate." " Lord " is a term instinct 
with Oriental feeling; the kings of the East have 
from time immemorial been "lords," and their 
subjects nothing better than slaves. 

The same conception runs through the Oriental 
reUgions, which delight to express the relation of 
the divinity to the worshipper as that of the " lord," 

from Biaunsberg, 25 November, 1908, refers me to his book Ps.-Bionysius 
in seinen Seziehungen zvm Neuplatonismua und Mysterienwesen, 1900, 
pp. 38-49. 

' "Herald of God" is perhaps the best translation of 960X6705. A memory 
of this meaning lingers in John Chrysostom, who calls the author of the 
Apocalypse SeoKbyov fleom}p«/ca, " theologian and herald of God," Orat. 36 (of. 
Suicerus, Thesawrus JScolesiasticris, s.v. BtoKtym); so too an Anonymus in 
Boissonade, AnecAota, 5, p. 166 (quoted in the Thesawvx Graeoae lAnguae, s.v. 
6eoK7ipv(). In the word " theologus " the primary sense is that, of a prophet ; 
the doctrinal sense that now prevails among us is secondary. 

' In Rev. XV. 4 the word " only " has been inserted by John in the Old 
Testament quotation. ' Rev. v. 9, xiv. 3. 

' Rev. XV. 3. Cf. the many other hymn-like portions of the Revelation. 

' I pointed out the essential lines iu the history of this word in Die Christ- 
liche Welt, 14 (1900) col. 291 ; cf. also Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 27 (1906) 
col. 088 f. Similarly Lietzmann, Scundluek tvm N.T. III. (1906) p. 58 fE. Cf. 
also Weinel, Die Stelhmg des VrcTi/ristentums zwn Stoat, p. 19 ; and W. H. 
P. Hatch, Some Illustrations, p. 139 f. There is also important matter in 
Ferdinand Kattenbusch, Z)as apostolisehe Symbol, II., Leipzig, 1900, p. 605 S.. 



or, as we saw in the inscription of the beggar-priest 
of the Syrian goddess from Kefr-Hauar,^ of the 
" lady " to the slave. In religious history the most 
important illustration of this is undoubtedly the Old 
Testament, especially in the Greek Septuagint trans- 
lation, which, following Jewish custom, has even 
replaced the divine name Jahveh by "Lord."^ 

But we find " lord " or " lady " as divine names ' 
extending also into a number of cults of the Graeco- 
Roman world. " The lord Serapis," to take but 
one example, encountered us in the letters of Apion, 
the soldier,* and the prodigal son Antonis Longus.^ 
It may be said with certainty that at the time when 
Christianity originated " Lord " was a divine predicate 
intelligible to the whole Eastern world. St. Paul's 
confession of " Our Lord Jesus Christ " — ^his cosmo- 
politan expansion of an Aramaic title " for Jesus the 
Messiah, employed by the Primitive Christians and 
occasionally even by himself in the world— was, like 
the complemental thought, that the worshippers are 
the " slaves " ^ of the Lord, understood in its full 
meaning by everybody in the Hellenistic East, and 
the adoption of the Christian terms of worship was 
vastly facilitated in consequence. This becomes 
still clearer if we compare, for instance, St. Paul's 

' Above, p. 109. Cf. also the inscription from the temple of Isis at Philae, 
p. 356, n. 6 below. 

2 On the far-reaching importance of this substitution see my little sketch 
Die Sellenwierung des semitiselien MonotJieismvs, p. 173 [13] ff. 

" I have already referred (ibid. p. 174 [14]) to the article "Kyrlos" in 
W. H. Boacher's Ausfuhrliehes Lexikon der griechiielien tind rmmehen 

* Page 168 and Fig. 24 above. 

» Page 176 and Fig. 26 above. 

' Marana = Our Lord, 1 Oor. xvi. 22. 

' This thought, also Eastern in origin, was specially adapted to the Hellen- 
istic world by St. Paul through the metaphor of sacral manumission; see 
p. 324 fi. above. 


expression "the table of the Lord (Jesus Christ)," 
1 Cor. X. 21, with the analogous Egyptian ex- 
pression,^ "the table of the lord Serapis," which 
has been discovered in the papyri.^ 

This is no doubt a case of independent parallelism, 
St. Paul's expression was most probably influenced by 
such passages as Malachi i. 7, 12, and Ezekiel xxxix. 
20, xliv. 16 in the Greek Old Testament. Another 
Pauline phrase, "the table of devils " (1 Cor. x. 21), 
seems to be connected with Isaiah Ixv. 11, Septuagint 
version. It is of course chronologically possible, but 
not at all probable, that the Serapis formula was 
influenced by the Christian one. All that can be 
said at present is that the two formulae are found 
side by side, and that no genealogical connexion is 
perceivable. The Egyptian analogy shows that in 
yet another vital point the language of ancient 
Christianity was approached by a usage of ancient 
paganism. St. Paul himself, wishing to make the 
Corinthians realise the nature of the Lord's Supper, 
alluded to the analogy of the sacred feasts of the 
pagans (1 Cor. x. 19-21). 

Now it has generally been assumed hitherto that 
the Roman emperors were first named "lord" or 
"our lord" from Domitian onward, i.e. not until 
after St. Paul's time. That may be true of Rome 
and the West. In the East, however, as the records 
now show, the ancient title, which had long been 
in use in the language of the native courts, and 
had moreover an essential touch of the reUgious 

' Cf . Die Christliohe Welt, 18 (1904) col. 37. 

' The OxyrhynchuB Papyri, Kos. 110 and 523, 2nd cent. A.D., invitations to 
" sup at the table [literally " couch " or " sofa "] of the lord Serapis," Stkirv^rai. 
as K\elyriy Tou Kvptov Sapimdos. Wilcken refers to Arohiv, i, p. 211. These 
invitations are at the same time an excellent illustration of 1 Cor. x. 27 ; cf . 
Die Christliohe Welt, 18 (1904) col. 36 f. 


about it, was bestowed on the emperors much 
earlier. The subsequent victory of the " Dominate " 
over the " Principate " ^ — ultimately a victory of 
Oriental over Roman feeling — was thus foretold 
centuries in advance. 

Here too Hellenistic culture paved the way,^ at 
least in Egypt. As it had been usual to address 
the Pharaoh with "O king, our lord,'" so a 
Munich Papyrus gives as one of the official titles 
of King Ptolemy IV. Philopator (221-205 B.C.), 
translated into Greek, "lord of the diadems"*,- 
and the Rosetta Stone ^ attaches the same title to 
Ptolemy V. Epiphanes (205-181 b.c.). Still more 
remarkable is it, however, when on 12 May 62 b.c. 
a high Egyptian official in an inscription on the 
door of the temple of Isis on the island of Philae 
calls Ptolemy XIII. "the lord king god,"* or 
when in an inscription from Alexandria of the year 
52 B.C. the co-regents with this king (Ptolemy XIV. 
and Cleopatra) are called " the lords, the most great 
gods."' It cannot, therefore, have sounded foreign 
to Egyptian ears when the Egyptian translators of 
the Old Testament into Greek rendered quite 
literally* the Semitic "Lord King" which occurs 

' I.e. in constitutional law the victory of the theory that the Caesar is 
■" Lord " over the other theory that he is " First " in the State. 

^ Lietzmann, o^. oit., p. 64 middle, disputes this. 

' Of. TJ. Wilcken, Zeitsohrift fUr die agyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, 
35 (1897) p. 84. 

' Kiptos ^ala-iSeiav'i ; of. Wilcken, Arohiv f iir Papyrusforsohung, 1, p. 481 ff. 

» Dittenberger, Orientit Graeci Imcriptionet Selectae, No. 90i. 

« Ibid. No. 1868, Tov icvplov ^airt\[4]os flcoP. Before that he says iJKU irpbs tV 
K[v]plav 'Iffiv, " I came to the lady Isis " — a good example of " lady " as a 
divine title (of. above, p. 354), but still more important as an analogue to the use 
of iJKU, " X come," in the language of worship : cf. the Septoagint Psalter and 
John vi. 37, Tpit i/ii ^f «, " shall come to Me." 

' Sitzungsberiohte der Kgl. Preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, 
1902, p. 1096, rots Kvplms SeoTs luyUrroK (of. the explanation by U. von Wila- 
inowitz-Moellendorff, ibid.). 
• «i>/«os pa<ri\eis is therefore common in the LXX, including the Apocrypha. 


not unfrequently in thei original. Semitic and 
Egyptian here coincided, and when we find the same 
title applied to the Herods in ;,Greek inscriptions^ 
of Palestine (and other places), that is only another 
instance of the parallehsm already insisted on 
between Egyptian a ndj Palestinian culture. 

It is therefore in accordance with Egyptian or 
Egypto-Semitic custom that in numerous Greek 
inscriptions, papyri, and ostraca of the earhest 
Imperial period the title "lord" is attached to the 
Caesars by Egyptians and Syrians. An inscription 
from AbUa in Syria, which afterwards names "the 
lord Cronos," speaks of "the lords Augusti,"^ by 
which perhaps Tiberius and his mother Livia are 
meant' There is hterary record that CaUgula 
allowed himself to be called " lord." * An Egyptian 
docmnent* of the year 49 and an ostracon* from 
Thebes of the year 54 call Claudius " the lord." 

For Nero " the lord," i.e. in the time of the most 
important of St. Paul's letters, the number of examples 
suddenly rushes up tremendously. WUcken's book 
alone contains 27 ostraca dated after Nero " the 
lord," among them the one of 4 August 63 which 
is facsimiled above.'' My own collection also contains 
some yet unpubhshed Neronian JT^no^-ostraca. We 
find the title " lord " appHed to Nero also in papyrus 
documents, of which a good example is the letter of 
Harmiysis, 24 July 66, of which a picture is given 

' A number of examples in Dittenberger, Orientw Graeci ImcHptiones 
SeUetae, No. 415 (Herod the Great), 418 (41 A.D., Herod Agrippa I.), 423, 425, 
426 (Herod Agrippa II.). 

^ Ibid. No. 606, ruv Kvpluv ZcJjScurrui']. 

' So Schiirer, Qesohichte des jiidischen Volies, 1? p. 603, and Cagnat, Imerip- 
tiones Graeeae ad res Bomanas pertinemteg, note on No. 1086. 

* Anr. Vict. Caet. 3 ; ef. Cbristoph Bchoener, Ueber die Titulatnren der 
romischen E^ajser, Acta Seminarii Philologici Erlangensis, 2 (1881) p. 476. 

' The Oxyrhynchns Papyri, No. 37gf. 

' Wilcken, Griechiiclie Oftraka, No. 1088. ' Page 105. 


above ^ (Figure 21). The officials who sign the 
document use the title three times. It is a very 
important fact that under Nero we first find the 
Ky7-ios-title in an inscription in Greece. The marble 
tablet of Acraephiae in Boeotia^ which has yielded 
such an extraordinarily rich harvest, and which 
immortalises, among other things, a speech made 
by Nero at Corinth in November 67, contains a 
decree of honour in which the Boeotian town calls 
him once " lord of the whole world," and then, what 
is in my opinion more important, simply " the lord 
Augustus," divine honours being awarded him by the 
decree. This important inscription shows how far 
the East had already penetrated on its march of 
conquest into the West. A living illustration of the 
inscription and the forebodings it arouses is supplied 
by the journey undertaken a year before (66 a.d.) by 
the Persian king Tiridates to do homage to the 
Emperor; Tiridates came from the East to Italy 
and did homage to Nero at Naples as " the lord " 
and in Rome as "the god."^ 

The fact that a New Testament writer* well 
acquainted with this period makes Festus the 
Procurator speak of Nero simply as " the lord," now 
acquires its full significance in this connexion. The 
insignificant detail, questiohed by various com- 
mentators, who, seated at their writing-tables in 
Tubingen or Berlin, vainly imagined that they 
knew the period better than St. Luke, now appears 
thoroughly credible. 

' Page 160. 

2 Most easily accessible in Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 376j„ o to5 vavrhs 
Kdff/iov xipim TSipav ; 376a5, tou Kvplov "Ze^aarov [N^puwoi]. 

' Albrecht Dieterich, Zeitschrift fur die nentestamentliche Wissenschaft, 
3 (1902) p. 9ff., has seen in this journey, which is recorded by Dio Gassing and 
others, one of the motives of the gospel story of the Adoration of the Magi. 

' St. Luke, Acts xxv. 26. 


Further examples of the Kyrios-title down to 
Domitian could be easily given, especially from the 
ostraca,^ but they are not necessary. It is sufficient 
for our purpose to have realised the state of affairs 
in the time of Nero and St. Paul. And then we 
cannot escape the conjecture that the Christians of 
the East who heard St. Paul preach in the style of 
Phil. ii. 9, 11 and 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6 must have found 
in the solemn confession ^ that Jesus Christ is " the 
Lord " a silent protest against other " lords," and 
against " the lord," as people were beginning to call 
the Roman Caesar. And St. Paul himself must 
have felt and intended this silent protest, — as well as 
Jude, when he calls Jesus Christ " our only master 
and Lord." ^ 

Not many years later, soon after the destruction of 
Jerusalem, Jewish rebels in Egypt, so Josephus * tells 
us (doubly credible when one knows the Egyptian 
use of the title " lord " at this time), refused to call 
the Caesar " lord," because they " held God alone to 
be the Lord," — and died as martyrs, men and boys. 
Though the grief and resentment pi these desperate 
ones did not burn in those who loved Jerusalem 
before the catastrophe of the year 70, yet St. Paul 
and his friends were one with them in the religious 
protest against the deification of the Caesar. And a 
hundred years later the Christian exclusive confession 
of " our Lord Jesus Christ," which could not but 
sound politically dangerous to a Roman official (from 

' My collection contains, for instance, some Vespasian-ostraca with the title 

' " God hath given Him [Jesus Christ] a name [ = Kyrios] which is above 
every name . . . that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord 
[Kyrios]," Phil. ii. 9, 11 ; "... as there be gods many, and lords many; but 
to us there is but one God . . , and one Lord Jesus Christ " (1 Cor. viii. 5, 6). 

' riv iihvoy ieairlynpi koX Kipiov tuuHv, Jude 4. 

* Jewish Wars, YII. x. 1. 


Domitian onwards " our lord " is found applied to 
the Caesars),^ led to Christian martyrdoms. In the 
case of Polycarp, at Smyrna in the year 155, it was 
a question of the " lord "-formula. "What is the 
harm in saying ' lord Caesar ' ? " the Irenarch Herod 
and his father Nicetes asked the saint seductively.^ 
The scene enacted on 17 July 180 at Carthage before 
the judgment-seat of the Proconsul P. Vigellius 
Saturninus stands out even more plainly.^ The 
Roman official commands the Christian Speratus of 
Scili (Scilli) in Numidia*: " Swear by the genius of 
our lord the Emperor ! " And the Christian answers : 
" I know no imperium of this world, ... I know 
my Lord, the King of kings, and Emperor of all 
nations." ^ 

That the old polemical parallelism was felt even 
after Christianity became the state religion, is shown 
perhaps by the fact that the Christian emperors, 
though they did not drop the title of " lord," often 
chose another Greek word instead. In Greek titles 
of Christian emperors in the papyri the word Kyrios 
is conspicuously eclipsed by the title Despotes (which 
occurs towards the end of the 3rd cent.^), as though 

' Alfr. Finoke, De appellationibus Caesarum honorifiois et adulatoriis. Diss. 
Eegimonti Pr. [1867] p. 31 f. 

' Marty riwm Poly carpi, viii. 2, ri yhp KaKhv ianv ebretv' xipios Kolirop; 
Extraordinarily characteristic of the Christian sense of the contrast is the 
date of this Martyrium. (c. 21)— month, day, hour, names of the high priest 
and the proconsul, and then in the place where one would expect the Imperial 
regnal year: ^trikeiovros Si els toi>s oifixos 'Ii;<roO XpurroS if ■h So^a, rtjiii, 
Ij^yaKairiyrj, Spivos alilmioi &Tb yeveas els yeve&v iy-iv, "and Jesus Christ reigning 
for ever, to whom is the glory, honour, greatness, and an eternal throne from 
generation to generation. Amen." 

' Passio Sanctorum Soilitanorum, in K. Knopf's AmgewdUte Mivrtyreraeten, 
p. 34 f. Quoted in this connexion by Lietzmann, p. 55. 

* lura per genium domni nostri imperatoris. 

' Ego imperium huins seculi non cognosce, . . . cognosoo domnum meum, 
regem regum et imperatorem omnium gentium. 

' Cf . Wilcken, Archiv f Ur Papyrusforsohung, 4, p. 260. 


Kyrios was intended to be reserved for the heavenly 

The Church of England prays "through Jesus 
Christ our Lord " for " our most gracious Sovereign 
Lord " the King, and there is no oiFence in the collo- 
cation, but few users of the prayer ever dream of 
what lies behind those words — that there were times 
in which the most earnest among Christians went to 
execution rather than transfer to a man the divine 
title of their Saviour. 

Still more strikingly than with the substantive, the 
parallehsm between the language of Christianity and 
the official vocabulary of Imperial law shows itself in 
the use of the adjective KvpiaKos, "belonging to the 
Lord," " Lord's." Famihar to every reader of the 
New Testament from 1 Cor. xi. 20 and Rev. i. 10, 
where it occurs in the phrases " the Lord's supper " 
and " the Lord's day " {i.e. probably'^ Sunday), it may 
certainly be described as a very characteristic word of 
the early language of Christian worship, and it was 
formerly considered as a specifically Biblical and 
ecclesiastical word, some even going so far as to 
regard it as a coinage of St. Paul's. But as a matter 
of fact St. Paul took it from the language of con- 
temporary constitutional law, in which it meant 
" Imperial." I have shown elsewhere^ on the authority 
of papyri and inscriptions that the word was common 
in Egypt and Asia Minor during the Imperial period 
in certain definite phrases, e.g. " the lord's treasury " 
= imperial treasury, " the lord's service " = imperial 

' The Old Testament "day of the Lord " might perhaps be meant. Later, 
however, the expression is often used for Sunday. 

" Neue JBibelstudien, p. 44 ; Biile Studies, p. 217 f. For the two mistakes 
in the spelling of the place-names at the end of paragraph 1 in the German 
edition, I am not responsible. Bead, of course, " Aphrodisias " and " Thyatira." 
Of. also W. H. P. Hatch, Some Illustrations, p. 138 f . 


service, and I could now perhaps quadruple the 
number of examples from the 2nd cent. a.d. onwards. 

Instead of doing so here, I will only show a picture 
(Figure 55) of the inscription containing the oldest 
example yet known of the official use of the word 
in the Imperial period. It is an edict of the Praefect 
■of Egypt, Ti. Julius Alexander, 6 July, 68 a.d,, 
inscribed on the wall of the propylon of a temple 
at El-Khargeh in the Great Oasis.' 

In this edict the high Roman official, who was 
^Iso a Jew like St. Paul, uses the word KvpiaKos 
twice. In line 13 he speaks of the "imperial 
finances," 2 and in line 18 of the " imperial treasury." ^ 
In their bearing on the methods of research these 
passages are extremely instructive. Scholars who 
only believe in the borrowing of secular words for 
purposes of the Christian religion when they are 
«hown pre-Christian quotations,* will hardly wish 
to assert here that the Praefect of Egypt, had 
borrowed the remarkable word which he uses a few 
jears later than St. Paul from Christianity and 
introduced it into his own vocabulary of constitutional 
law. It is much more likely to be the case that 
the presumably older Hellenistic (perhaps Egjrpto- 
Hellenistic) ^ word Kupta/fos was in use as a technical 

' The best edition so far is that of Dittenberger, Ori^ntii Oraeoi Iiaervp- 
tiows Seleetae, No. 669 ; all further literature ibid. The photograph of this 
important inscription is due to Professor Moritz, of Cairo. A diapositive of 
this (lines 1-46), which I received from Baron P. W. von Bissing through 
Wilcken's kind mediation, has been used for Fig. 55. The gigantic inscription 
can here only be given in a greatly reduced form; but with a raagnifying 
^^lass even inexperienced pereons can probably check the text roughly to 
some extent. 

'' ToXt KvpMKois ^^0ois ; cf. WUcken, Arohiv fiir Papyrusforschung, 4, p. 240. 

^ rdr KvpiaKbv Xir/ott. 

' Cf. p. 72 f. above. 

° Cf. the Egypto-Hellenistic use of the substantive kiJ/jjoj in sacral lan- 
^nage, p. 356 above. 







expression of constitutional law before St. Paul, 
though it happens not to be discoverable in con- 
stitutional use until after St. Paul had introduced 
it into the language of Christian worship. 

In line 3 of the same inscription the Strategus 
of the Great Oasis, Julius Demetrius, who had to 
publish the Praefect's edict, distinguishes the day 
of publication (1 Phaophi = 28 September, 68 a.d.) 
by a name which must also be noted in this con- 
nexion, viz. Julia Sehaste} This name for a day, 
shortened to Sebaste, occurs very frequently in the 
Imperial period, both in Egypt and in Asia Minor. 
It was first made known to us by the new texts, 
and although the problems it raises are not all 
solved yet, it may be said with certainty that it 
means something like " Emperor's Day " ; that is to 
say, a certain day ^ of the month received the name 
Sebaste in honour of the Emperor. On collecting 
the examples known to me some time ago,' I said 
that this name, formed probably after some 
Hellenistic model,* was analogous to the Primitive 
Christian " Lord's Day " as a name for Sunday.^ 
But the more I regard this detail in connexion with 
the great subject of " Christ and the Caesars," the 
more I am bound to reckon with the possibility 

' 'louXif Se/Soo-T^i. Wiloken, Orieehisohe OstraJta, I. p. 813, considers it 
possible that the expression does not here denote a day. 

^ Or certain days of the month ? Or (later) a certain day of the week ? ? 

' JVeue BibeUtudien, p. 45 f.; Bible Stvdies, p. 218 f.; and Encyclopaedia 
Bihliea, 3, col. 2815 f . Eef erences are there given to other literature on the 
subject, the chief additions to which are Wilcken, Orlechiiche Ostraka, \, 
p. 812 f ., and H. Dessau, Hermes, 35 (1900) p. 333 f . ; of. also Thieme, Die 
InicTiriften von Magnesia am Maander und das Neue Testament, p. 15 f. 

* Of. the " King's Day" in the time of the Ptolemies, Encyclopaedia Biblica, 
3, col. 2815 f. 

* E. Sohttrer expressed himself in agreement with this, Zeitschrift fiir die 
neutestamentl. Wissenschaft, 6 (1905) p. 2. A. Thumb, Zeitschrift fur Deutsche 
Wortforschung, 1 (1900) p. 165, and Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, 2, p. 424, 
comes also to my conclusion. 


that the distinctive title "Lord's Day" may have 
been connected with conscious feelings of protest 
against the cult of the Emperor with its " Emperor's 

The " Sebaste Day," although never mentioned in 
Uterature, cannot have been a passing fancy of the 
" adulators." ^ The ostraca show it as an Eastern 
institution familiar even to the lower orders in the 
period which saw the birth of Christianity. Wilcken^ 
was able to refer to seven ostraca, ranging from 15 
to 44 A.D., which are dated by the Sebaste Day. 
My own collection contains an eighth example, 
from Thebes, end of August or September 33 a.d. 
(Figure 56), which Wilcken has deciphered for me. 
As a document from the hand of a simple money- 
changer it may serve to supplement the high 
official's inscription in the Oasis : — 

hi,arfer/pa{(^ev) ' *f2po<} Ilepfiafuo'i vir{ep) ;^o)(/iaTt/(;oS) 

{^ L * 3 ' ef Terpo^o * koI 0a(aviKov) Terpo/So ' 

3' /■*3^2='2' *«*' ''■« toi5t(q)v) •7rpocrS{iaf^pa<ji6/Ji,eva) 

^^ _io 3' . L* K Ti0epiov KaCaapot 

Se^aa-Tov p/rfvo<; Se^aa-rov 
Se^aarrji. Il6T€/ie(i'w<^ts) ITtK(wTos.) 

Horas, the son of Permamis, has paid for embankment tax " 
of the 19th year six drachmae four obols, and for bath tax ^^ 
four obols J : they are 7 drachmae, 2J obols ; and of these the 

' Earlier investigators misunderstood many of the institutions of the 
Imperial age by dismissing their technical expressions as " adulatory." 

2 GrieoTiuche Ostraka, 1, p. 812 ; and the Strassburg Ostracon No. 203, Archiv 
fiir Papyrnsforschung, 4, p. 146. ' Or 8iayeypi(.<t>vica''). 

* I.e. Itovs. ^ I.e. apax/nis. " I.e. TerpSpoKor. 

'' I.e. ^ obol. ' I.e. yivovToi. » I.e. 2 obols. 

'» I.e. 1 obol. The beginning of the line is to be extended : ii ipoXoS 

" For the embankment tax cf. Wilcken, GfriecMsehe Ontraha, 1, p. 333 fC. 
« For the bath tax cf. Wilcken, iUA. p. 166fE. 


Fig. 56. — Ostracon, Thebes. Dated on a Sebaste Day in 
August or September, 33 A.v. Receipt for Embankment and 
Batli Tax. Now in tlie Author's collection. 

[p. 364 



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further levy of 1| obols.^ In the year 20 of Tiberius Caesar 
Sebastos, in the month Sebastos, on Sebaste Day.* Peteme- 
(nophis), the son of Picos.' 

I have already hinted that these examples from 
Egypt are not isolated. Here, as so often, corre- 
sponding examples from Asia Minor * prove the unity 
of the culture on the eastern and southern shores 
of the Mediterranean. To illustrate the uniformity 
I give here (Figures 57 and 58) two portions of the 
inscription at Pergamum, of the reign of Hadrian,* 
which has been mentioned already in connexion with 
the hymnodi. The name Sebaste is here assumed 
to be so well known that it is not written out in 
full but abbreviated in three places (B. 4, 8 ; D. 10) 
as SejS or SejS! 

In these three passages where the Sebaste Day 
is mentioned in the inscription the reference is to 
money payments of a religious nature which two 
officials, the Eukosmos and the Grammateus, of the 
association of hynmodi have each to make on this 
day. Money payments due on Sebaste Day are heard 
of again on an inscription at lasus,* and all the 
ostraca that mention the Sebaste Day are receipts 
for money. Were then the Sebaste Days, I would 
ask, favourite days for effecting payments in the 
Hellenistic East? And I would further ask, with 

' I.e. IJ obols per stater of 4 drachmae, cf. Wilcken, Arohiy fUr Papyrus- 
forschung, 4, p. 147. 

' Note the cumulation of Sebastos = Augustus. The month Sebastos is the 
Egyptian month Thoth, 29 August — 27 September. 

' This collector's name appears on other ostraca. 

* Neix Mbelttudien, p. 45 f. ; Sible Stvdieg, p. 218 f. ; Encyclopaedia Biblica, 
3, col. 2815 f . 

" Die Inschriften von Pergamon, No. 374 B and D. The drawing there 
given (p. 261) of sides B and D," on a scale of 1 : 6 J, is here reproduced by 
kind permission of the Directors of the Boyal Museums at Berlin (Figures 
57 and 58). Cf. p. 352, n. 4 above. 

' Nev£ Sibelstitdien, p. 46 ; Bible Studies, p. 219. 


all caution : When St. Paul advised the Christians 
of Galatia and Corinth^ to raise their contributions 
to the collection for the saints by instalments payable 
every Sunday, was he thinking of some such custom 
then prevalent in the world around him? The 
question is at least justifiable. For my own part 
I hesitate to return an affirmative answer, because 
it seems to me more probable to assume that St. 
Paul's advice was connected with some system of 
wage-paying (of which, however, I know nothing) 
that may have been customary in the Imperial 

If at the pregnant words " God " and " Lord " all 
manner of sensations of protest were roused in the 
Christian worshipper against the cult of the Caesar, 
this was of course also the case with the still more 
impressive combination /cup los /fat ^eos, "Lord and 
God," which, as the confession of St. Thomas,^ is 
one of the culminating points (originally the climax 
and concluding point) of the Gospel of St. John. 
In Christian worship it was probably a direct 
suggestion from the Septuagint.^ It probably made 
its way into the Imperial cult from Mediterranean 
cults: an inscription at Socnopaei Nesus in the 
Fayum, 17 March 24 B.C., already cited,* mentions 
a building dedicated "to the god and lord Socno- 
paeus," and an inscription of the Imperial period at 
Thala in the Province of Africa* is consecrated to 
" the god lord Satumus." Under Domitian {i.e., 
in Ne\^ Testament terms, in the Johannine period) 
we have the first example in the cult of the Caesars. 

■ 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2. " John xx. 28. 

» JE.ff. Psalm Ixxxv. [Ixxxvi.] 15, Ixxxvii. [Ixxxviii.] 2. 

* Page 349. twi. Se&i Kal KVfila Soxpoirafwi. 

* Cf. Berliner Philologisohe Woohensohrift, 21 (1901) col. 475 : deo domino 


Domitian himself arranges to be called " our lord 
and god."^ In the third century the phrase be- 
comes quite official, but its use had continued mean- 
while in the East, as shown by an inscription from 
the Tauric Chersonese^ in which the Emperor 
Antoninus Pius is called "our god and lord." 

A whole chain of sensations of contrast and protest 
is dependent on the central thought in Primitive 
Christian worship, that Jesus is the ^ao-iXeu5, the 
" King." In the Hellenistic East, which received 
its stamp from the post- Alexandrian kings, the title 
"king" had remained very popular,^ and was even 
transferred to the Roman Emperor, as we see for 
example in the New Testament.* It has been well 
shown by Weinel ^ that in the age of the Revelation 
of St. John to confess the kingdom of Jesus was. 
to set vibrating a tense polemical feeling against the 
Caesars. The clearest example is perhaps the apo- 
calyptic formula® "Lord of Lords and King of 
Kings." The title " king of kings " ^ was originally 

' Sueton., Domit. 13, domvtvas et deus noster. Further examples in Schoener, 
p. 476 f., and Harnack, Lehrbwch der Dogmetigesohichte, F, Freiburg i. B., 1888 
p. 159. 

^ Inscriptiones Antiquae Orae SeptentrionaUs Ponti JEuxim Graecae et- 
Lat'mae, ed. Latyschev, IV. No. 71? t, -rhv \6e\hv a/i<S» raJ ^(Tirdriu/. 

' The expression F6/iios ^aaCKucbt, " the royal law," James ii. 8, occurs also in 
the technical usage of the surrounding world. The law o£ astynomy at 
Pergamum, carved on stone in the time of Trajan but going back probably 
to a time before the Christian era, has a heading, formulated perhaps by th& 
donor of the inscription in the time of Trajan, which says : rby PiurCKmiv yd/iov 
iK T&y lSlui> ivlBriKai, "he set up the royal law out of his own means"; cf. 
Athenische Mitteilungen, 27 (1902) p. 48 S. I saw the original at Pergamum on 
Good Friday 1906. The law is called " royal " because it was made by one of 
the kings of Pergamum. So too in the Epistle of James we must probably 
understand the term in the first place with reference to the origin of 
the law. 

' 1 Tim. ii. 2 ; 1 Peter ii. 17. Numerous examples from inscriptions, etc., ia 
Magie, p. 62. 

' Die Stellung des Urohristentums zwn Stoat, pp. 19, 21 f., 50 ff. 

" Eev. xvii. 14, xix. 16. Cf. also the confession of the martyr Speratus, 
p. 360 above. ' /So<KXei)s pan\4uv. 


in very early Eastern history a decoration of actual 
great monarchs and also a divine^ title, especially 
well known as applied to the Achaemenidae in 
Persia. It was suggested to the Christians not only 
because it was attached to God in the Greek Bible,^ 
but also because according to the evidence of coins 
and inscriptions it was actually borne at the period 
in question by princes of Armenia/ the Bosporan 
kingdom,* and Palmyra/ 

It would be possible in the case of many individual 
words ^ belonging to the retinue of " king " to prove 
the parallelism between the language of Christian 
worship and the formulae of the Imperial law and 
the Imperial cult. But I wish only to emphasise 
the characteristic main lines and accordingly dispense 
with details. 

In the case of the word a-cjTijp, " Saviour," the 
parallelism is particularly clear. I wiU simply refer 
to the splendid articles by Hamack ' and Wendland,' 

' Of. otto Pfleiderer, Das Ckristmbild des wrcliHstlichen Glaubens in religians- 
geiehwMUcher Heleiuihtung, Berlin, 1903, p. 95 fE. Samuel Brandt (postcard, 
Heidelberg, 10 December, 1908) refers for the profane use to Humann and 
Puchstein, Heisen in Kleimmen imd Nordsyrien, p. 281. 

2 2 Mace. xiii. 4 ; 3 Mace. v. 35. 

' A Tigranes has it occasionally on bis coins from 83 to 69 B.C., Wochenschrif t 
fur klassiscbe Philologie, 20 (1903) col. 218. 

* Inseriptiones Antiquae Orae Septentrionalis Ponti Euxini, ed. Latyschev, 
IV. Nos. 200, 202 (probably Sauromates I., 93-123 A.D.) ; II. Nos. 27, 358. 

^ Septimius Herodianns, the second son of Zenobia, has the title in an 
inscription at Palmyra, Lidzbarski, Epliemeris fHv seinitisehe Mpigraphih, 1, 
p. 85. 

* E.g. i^ovirla, Kpiros, laxity Siya/us, /ieyaXeiATiis, Spio/t/Setfu, Xdynirai, S(i|a, nfiii, 
Xipt!, Suped, <ln\av0puirla, dper^, oiiiwos. See in Biielstudien, p. 277 fE., Bible 
Studies, p. 360 ffi., the parallel between 2 Peter 1. 11, " the everlasting kingdom 
of oar Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," and a Carian inscription Corpvs 
Insoriptionv/in Graecarvm No. 271S a, b (Stratonicia, earliest Imperial period), 
" the everlasting dominion of the lords the Romans." There is also material 
in Thieme, Die Insckriften von Magnesia am Mdaitder und das N.T. 

' "Der Heiland," Die Christliohe Welt, 14 (1900) No. 2 ; now in his Reden 
und Aufsdtxe, I., Gieszen, 1904, p. 307 ffi. 

' SfiTHP, Zeitsohrift fiir die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 5 (1904) 
p. 335 ff. 


and call attention to one special point. The ample 
materials collected by Magie^ show that the full 
title of honour, " Saviour of the world," with" which 
St. John^ adorns the Master, was bestowed with 
sundry variations in the Greek expression ^ on Julius 
Caesar, Augustus, Claudius, Vespasian, Titus, Trajan, 
Hadrian, and other Emperors in inscriptions of the 
Hellenistic East.* The exact Johannine term^ is 
specially common in inscriptions for Hadrian,^ and it 
is only what might be expected from the parallelism 
between the cult of Christ and the cult of the 
Caesars when the adjective o-cocriKdcr/Aios,^ " world- 
saving, world-rescuing," found in the papyri, alluding 
to Hadrian's title of "saviour of the world," and 
perhaps invented in his honour, afterwards turns up 
many centuries later Christianised and in Christian 

The word a^^^iepev?, "high priest," to which the 
Epistle to the Hebrews gave currency as a worshipful 
term applied to Christ, shows how a cult-word that 
was certainly developed within Primitive Christianity 
from Jewish premises entered spontaneously into the 
usual parallelism as soon as it found itself in the 
world. It was by this Greek word, as numerous 

> Op. (At., p. 67 f . 

* John iv. 42, 1 John iv. 14, o-uttjp tov K6(7fU)v. 

' (Turiip T^s (8X175) oi/cou/i^yijs, (rwriip tov xifffiov, etc. Cf. H. Lietzmann, Der 
Wettheiland, Bonn, 1909. 

* On the combination " God and Saviour " cf. p. 348, n. 4 above. 

' Wilhelm Weber, Untermehwngeii zur Geseh. des Kaisers Hact/rianus, 
pp. 225, 226, 229. 

' Weber, ibid. pp. 24], 250 ; Kenyon, Archiv f. Papyrusforsohung, 2, p. 70 fE., 
especially pp. 73, 75. SaaiKdafuos is the name of a deme of the city of 
Antiuoe which Hadrian had founded in Egypt. Cf. also W. Schubart, 
Archiv f. Papyrnsforschung, 5, pp. 94-103. Friedrich Pfister, Sudwestdentsohe 
Schnlblatter, 25 (1908) p. 345, points out the importance of the expression 
<T(ii(riK6afuos in the history of cosmopolitanism. 

' Cf. E. A. Sophocles' Lexiemi, s.v. aanKiuriuos (and (roxrlKoanos), and the 
Thesaurus Graecae Linguae, s.v. aualKoaiiOi. 



inscriptions^ have shown, that the title pontifex 
maocimibs, borne by the Emperors, was translated in 
the East. 

The parallelism exists not only with sacred titles, 
it goes further. Two examples are now forthcoming 
to prove that the, word euayyeXioj/, "gospel, good 
tidings," which was in use in pre-Christian times in 
the profane sense of good news, and which then 
became a Primitive Christian cult-word of the first 
order, was also employed in sacral use in the Imperial 
cult. One of the examples is that calendar inscrip- 
tion of Priene, about 9 b.c., which we have mentioned^ 
twice already, and which is now in the Berlin 
Museum. Discovered by German archaeologists on 
two stones of different kind in the north hall of the 
market-place at Priene, and published for the first 
time by Theodor Mommsen and Ulrich von 
Wilamowitz-Moellendorff with other allied texts and 
a commentary,' this inscription, designed to introduce 
the Asian calendar, has already been appreciated by 
Adolf Hamack* and Paul Wendland* as of great 
importance in the history of the sacred language 
of Asia Minor. Harnack translated the most im- 
portant parts into German.^ H. Winnefeld kindly 
obtained for me a photograph of lines 1-60, from 
which, with the consent of the Directors of the 
Royal Museums, our Figures 59 and 60 have 
been made, their size being less than one-quarter of 
the original. As far as I know these are the first 

' See Magie, p. 64. 

' rages 349, 351 above. 

" Athenlsohe Mitteilungen, 24 (1899) p. 275 ff. 

• " Als die Zeit erfuUet war," Die Christliohe Welt, 13 (1899) No. 51 ; now 
in his JReden wnd AufsaUe, I, p. 301 ff. 

' Zeitschrift fiir die neutestamentliohe WissensohaEt, 5 (1904) p. 335 ff. 

« The Greek text is now most easily accessible in Dittenberger, Orientis 
Graeci Imorydimusi Selectae, No. 458, and Xnsohriften von Priene, No. 105. 

,_ - ■-- C ^ lA ■^ - 



facsimiles to be published of these important texts. ^ 
Here we find (line 40 f, Figure 60) this remarkable 
sentence referring to the birthday of the Emperor 
Augustus : — 

Bi avTOP eiavyeXl,[oiv 17 76- 
veff\io<s] I Tov Oeov. 

But the birthday of the god was 
for the world the beginning of 
tidings of joy on his account.^ 

Two and a half centuries later we hear the echo of 
these festal trumpets when, on the receipt of the 
"joyful tidings " that G. JuHus Verus Maximus had 
been appointed Caesar, an Egyptian, probably a high 
official, wrote to another a letter, preserved on a 
fragment of papyrus in the Royal Library at Berlin,' 
calling for a procession to be arranged for the gods. 
The fragment reads : — 

iirei 7j/[ft)]<rT[j7? i'^evoiirjv rov] 
evav^eK[l,o\v * irepl tov avr)- 
yopevtrOai Kaiaapa tov tov 
0eo<f)CKeffTdTov KvpLov 
5 rfjjMv AvTOKpaTopoi} Kat- 
Ta'iov ^lovXiov Ovripov 

Forasmuch as I have become 
aware of the tidings of joy 
concerning the proclaiming as 
Emperor of Gains Julius Verus 
Maximus Augustus, the son 
of our lord, most dear to 
the gods, the Emperor Caesar 

' The whole inacription consists of 84 lines. 

' Hans Lietzmann, Stvdim imd Kritiken, 1909, p. 161, translates differently. 

" Published by G. Parthey, Memorie delV ImtHmto di Corrigpondenza 
Aroheologica, 2, Lipsia, 1865, p. 440. Ulrioh Wilcken revised the text some 
years ^o, and very kindly supplied me with his readings, which I have adopted 
here (letter, Leipzig, 4 October, 1907). 

* Lines 1 and 2 are so restored by me. Parthey read yiialar after ct« ; 
when Wilcken re-examined the fragment these letters were no longer there. 
For yviiffTjp of. Acts xxvi. 3. A possible reading would be ivel yvlu]rrlela 
lytvcTo roB], " now that confirmation has come of the good news " ; for yviorreia 
of. FaySm Towns and their Papyri, No. 665 (2nd cent, a.d.).— The first 
word of the second line was wrongly read by Parthey eiavyiXeai. To judge 
whether the restoration eiayye\llo]v, suggested by Wilcken's reading eiaj^eX v 
IS right, the papyrus must be re-examined. There is nothing else that could 
very well be intended. 


Ei<re0ov<! EvTV')(pv<; Se- 

iraSia Tdlov 'lovXtov Ovfj- 

Md^ifjLOv Se^aa-Tov, 
10 XP^' TifMimraTe, ra? 
Beat; Kayfid^ea-dai. "v 
[o]5z/ etS)}? Koi, irapaTvyrj'i 

Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus, 
pious, happy, and Augustus, it 
is necessary, O most honourable, 
that the goddesses be celebrated 
in festal procession. In order, 
therefore, that thou mayest 
know and be present . . . 

[Here the papyriis breaks off.^ 

Yet another of the central ideas of the oldest 
Christian worship receives light from the new texts," 
viz. vapova-ia, " advent, coming,"^ a word expressive 
of the most ardent hopes of a St. Paul. We now 
may say that the best interpretation of the Primitive 
Christian hope of the Parusia is the old Advent text,^ 
" Behold, thy King cometh unto thee." From the 
Ptolemaic period down into the 2nd cent. a.d. we 
are able to trace the word in the East as a technical 
expression for the arrival or the visit of the king or 
the emperor.* The parusia of the sovereign must 
have been something well known even to the people, 
as shown by the facts that special payments in kind 
and taxes to defray the cost of the parusia were 
exacted, that in Greece a new era was reckoned from 
the parusia of the Emperor Hadrian, that all over 
the world advent-coins were struck after a parusia 
of the emperor, and that we are even able to quote 
examples of advent-sacrifices. ° 

The subject of parusia dues and taxes in Egjrpt 
has been treated in detail by Wilcken.^ The oldest 

' Even Cremer,' p. 403, could only say : " How the term came to be adopted, 
it would be difficult to show." He inclines to think it was an adaptation of 
the language of the synagogue. ' The translation " coming again" is incorrect. 

' Zeoh. ix. 9 ; Matt. xxi. 5. * Or other persons in authority, or troops. 

» Otto Immisoh (letter, Giessen, 18 October, 1908) refers to the \ir/oi. 
in^aj-iipioi., " speeches on entering a place," for the forms of which see Menander 
in the Rhetores Graeci, ed. Spengel, 3, p. 377 fE. ' 

^ Griechisclte Ostraka, I. p. 274 ffi. 


passage he mentions is in the Fhnders Petrie Papyrus 
II. 39 e, of the 3rd cent. B.C., where, according to his 
ingenious interpretation, contributions are noted for 
a crown of gold to be presented to the king at his 
parusia.^ This papyrus supphes an exceptionally 
fine background of contrast to the figurative language 
of St. Paul, in which Parusia (or Epiphany, 
" appearing ") and crown ^ occur in collocation. 
While the sovereigns of this world expect at their 
parusia a costly crown for themselves, " at the parusia 
of our Lord Jesus " the apostle wiU wear a crown — 
the " crown of glory " (1 Thess. ii. 19) won by his 
work among the churches, or the " crown of righteous- 
ness " which the Lord will give to him and to all 
them that have loved His appearing (2 Tim. iv. 8). 

I have found another characteristic example in a 
petition,^ circa 113 b.c., which was found among the 
wrappings of the mummy of a sacred crocodile. A 
parusia of King Ptolemy, the second who called himself 
Soter (" saviour "), is expected, and for this occasion a 
great requisition has been issued for corn, which is 
being collected at Cerceosiris by the village headman 
and the elders of the peasants.* Speaking of this and 
another delivery of corn, these officials say : — 

. . . Koi, irpoaeSpevovTtav Sid ... and applying ourselves 

re^vvKTOi Kal v/J^pa<s fiexpt diligently, both night and day, 

Tov TO irpoKeifievov iK-rrXripSt- unto fulfilling that which was 

aai, Kal ttjv eTrvyeypafi/j^vvv set beforeusand the provision of 

irpof rr)v TOV ^acrtXiaxi irapov- 80 artabae which was imposed 

aiav dryopav tt . . . for the parusia of the king . . . 

' &\\ov (soil. <rT«t,i,vav) rafmwlks i^, " for another (crown) on the occasion of 
the parusia, 12 (artabae)." Of. also ffrieehische Ontraka, L p 296 

' Of. also p. 312 above. 

' The Tebtunis Papyri No. 489ir. 

• vpetrfivTipuv Tur yeio(pyiiv). This is -^ new quotation to show the age of 
the title " presbyter," of. Mbelgtudien, p. 153 f . ; A««e MbeUtudien, p. 60 ff ■ 
mUe Stndiei, pp. 154 f., 233 f. , e » '^. , 


Are not these Egyptian peasants, toiling day and 
night in expectation of the parusia of their saviour 
king, an admirable illustration of our Lord's words 
(Luke xviii. 7) about the elect who cry day and night 
to God, in expectation of the coming of the Son of 
Man (Luke xviii. 8) ? 

Again among the Tebtunis Papyri ^ there is a bill, 
from the end of the 2nd cent. b.c., which mentions 
" the parusia of the king," while an ostracon " of the 
2nd cent. B.C., from Thebes, reckons the expenses 
of the " parusia of the queen." 

As in Egypt, so also in Asia: the uniformity of 
Hellenistic civilisation is proved once more in this 
instance. An inscription of the 3rd cent. b.c. at 
Olbia ' mentions a parusia of King Saitapharnes, 
the expenses of which were a source of grave anxiety 
to the city fathers, until a rich citizen, named 
Protogenes, paid the sum — 900 pieces of gold, 
which were presented to the king. Next comes 
an example of great importance as proving an un- 
doubted sacral use of the word, viz. an inscription 
of the 3rd. cent. b.c., recording a cure at the temple 
of Aselepius at Epidaurus,* which mentions a parusia 
of the healer (saviour) god Aselepius. Other 
examples of Hellenistic age known to me are a 
passage in Polybius ^ referring to a parusia of King 
Antiochus the Great, and two letters of King 

1 No. II65,, pa(,tri\ii>is) rapovalat. 

' Wiloken, No. 1481, \6yos wapovialai) rriii) ^o(riX(lffff5)s). 

' Dittenberger, SyUoge," No. 22685f., t-^v re rapomlav iii^anurivrav toB paniMas, 
" when they announced the parusia of the king." 

< Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 803m, riv re Tla]pov<rlav r&y o4ro[D jrlopwe^iwic 
c 'A.cK\an6[sl " and Aselepius manifested his parusia." For the combination 
of parusia with manifestation see 2 Thess. ii. 8. 

» Blst. xviii. 31, Dubner : AiroKapaSoKclv ri\v 'Avntyxfiv wapomlav, " to expect 
earnestly the parusia of Antiochug." The verb is very characteristic, of. 
Rom. viii. 19, and p. 378, n. 1 below, the petition of the smaU proprietors of 
the village of Aphrodite. 


Mithradates VI. Eupator of Pontus at the beginning 
of his first war with the Romans, 88 b.c., recorded 
in an inscription at Nysa in Caria.^ The prince, 
writing to Leonippus the Praefect of Caria, makes 
twofold mention of his own parusia, i.e. his invasion 
of the province of Asia.^ 

It . is the legitimate continuation of the Hellenistic 
usage that in the Imperial period the parusia of the 
sovereign should shed a special brilliance. Even the 
visit of a scion of the Imperial house, G. Caesar 
(t 4 A.D.), a grandson of Augustus, was, as we know 
from an inscription,' made the beginning of a new 
era in Cos. In memory of the visit of the Emperor 
Nero,* in whose reign St. Paul wrote his letters to 
Corinth, the cities of Corinth and Patras struck 
advent-coins. ° Adventus Aug{tisti) Cor{inthi) is the 
legend on one, Adventus Augusti on the other. 
Here we have corresponding to the Greek parusia 
the Latin word advent, which the Latin Christians 
afterwards simply took over, and which is to-day 
familiar to every child among us. How graphically 
it must have appealed to the Christians of 
Thessalonica, with their living conception of the 
parusiae of the rulers of this world, when they read 
in St. Paul's second letter * of the Satanic " parusia " 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 328ji,3o, i»[Oi'] re t^[v iij,ii]v trapovalav irtyyois 
(or TvS6na>os), "and now, having learnt of my parusia." 

= This is Theodor Mommsen's explanation of the expression, Athenische 
Mitteilnngen, 16 (1891) p. 101 f. 

' Paton and Hicks, The Inscriptions of Cos, No. 391 [^]fioutoB irp^irov ras 
[ratjov KtUaapos im^avetas, " in the first year of the epiphany [synonymous 
with parusia, of. p. 378 below] of Gains Caesar." This prince enjoyed a regular 
cult in Cos, of. Herzog, Koische Forsehungen vmi Funde, p. 145. 

' For this visit of. the inscription of Acraephiae, p. 358 above. 

' Weber, Vntersuchimgen zur Geschiohte des Kaisers Hadriemus, p. 93, cites 
the two coins ( = Cohen I. 307, No. 403/4). 

• 2 Thess. ii. 8, 9, o ivo/tos, 6i> 6 /ciipios 'Iijo-oOs . . . Karafrylfcei. tj iri^iaDelg, 
T?j vapovcias [of. the inscrijftion of Epidanrus, p. 374, n. 4 above] airoO, o5 
iffHv Ti wapovcla Kar' hiprffuw toO Sotwo, " the lawless one, whom the Lord 


of Antichrist, who was to be destroyed by "the 
manifestation of the parusia " of the Lord Jesus ! 
A whole host of advent-coins resulted from the 
numerous joumeyings of the Emperor Hadrian ; 
we have specimens,^ 1 suppose, from most of 
the Imperial provinces, and these, it may be 
remarked, were official coinages of the Empire.^ 
The arrival of Hadrian at Rome on 9 July, 118, 
was even celebrated by the Arval brothers with 
solemn sacrifices in the Emperor's presence, to which 
the inscriptions containing the Acts of their college 
bear record.* The paralleUsm between the Hellenistic 
and the Imperial period is seen also in the fact that 
the expenses attending a parusia of the sovereign 
were considerable.* How deeply a parusia stamped 
itself on the memory is shown by the eras that were 
reckoned from parusiae. We have heard already of 
an era at Cos dating from the epiphany of G. Caesar," 
and we find that in Greece a new era was begun* 
with the first visit of the Emperor Hadrian in the 
year 124 ; — the magnificent monuments in memory 
of that parusia stiU meet the eye at Athens'^ and 
Eleusis. There is something peculiarly touching 
in the fact that towards the end of the 2nd century, 
at the very time when the Christians were beginning 

Jesus . . . shall destroy by the manifestation of His paiusia, whose parusia 
is according to the workings of Satan." 

' Examples in Weber, VnteTmch'wngen, pp. 81 (Eome), 109 (Britain), 115 
(Spain), 125 (Bithynia), 130 (Asia), 150 (Moesia), 155 (Macedonia), 197 
(Sicily), 198 (Italy), 201 (Mauretania), 227 (Phrygia), 247 (Alexandria). 

^ I have this on the (unwritten) authority of Wilhelm Weber. 

» Weber, Xrntersuehwri^en,y.ilfS.. The Acts read oJ adventmi I[mp(_eratoris) 
etc.] and ob advenltvmifaugtwn eimdein]. 

* Weber, Untersuehimgen, p. ISSjj,. 

■■• Page 375, n. 3 above. 

" Weber, TJhtermchvngen,, pp. 158 fE., 183, 186. 

' The gate of Hadrian and the Olympieum, which was then begun (Weber, 
Vhteriuehungen, p. 164). 

in the year 69 of the first 
parusia of the god Hadrian 
in Greece. 


to distinguish the " first parusia " of Christ from the 
" second," ^ an inscription at Tegea ^ was dated :— 

6T0V9 f 0' avo TJjs 6eov 'AS- 
ptavov TO irp&Tov ts ttjv E\- 
XoSa irapovaiaf. 

To make the circle of Hellenism complete once 
more, this inscription from Arcadia gives us again 
the word parusia, which we found in Egj^t, Asia 
Minor, and the New Testament. In Greece, how- 
ever, a synonym is more usual.^ 

Even in early Christian times the parallelism 
between the parusia of the representative of the 
State and the parusia of Christ was clearly felt by 
the Christians themselves. This is shown by a newly 
discovered* petition of the small proprietors of the 
village of Aphrodite in Egypt to the Dux of the 
Thebaid in the year 537-538 a.d.,^ a papyrus which 
at the same time is an interesting memorial of 
Christian popular rehgion in the age of Justinian. 

" It is a subject of prayer with us night and day, to be 
held worthy of your welcome parusia." ° 

The peasants, whom a wicked Pagarch has been 
oppressing, write thus to the high official, after 

' Of. for instance Justin Martyr, Dialogue with the Jew Trypho, o. 14 (Otto, 
p. 54) TTji" rpiirriy vapovjlay roC XpurroS, and similarly in c. 52 (p. 174). The 
Christian era was afterwards reckoned from the first parusia. 

2 Bulletin de Correspondauce Hell6nique, 25 (1901) p. 275. Quite sinailar 
formulae occur in Attic inscriptions of earlier date, but with another sub- 
stantive : " in the year x of the first epidemia of the God Hadrian," cf . Weber, 
l/ntersuoAungen, p. 159. 

' initiida. Examples are quoted from inscriptions by Weber, XJKtersuch- 
■ungen, pp. 159, 183, 188. 

* I owe this exoeUent example to Ulrich Wiloken (letter, Leipzig, 6 February, 
1909) ; cf . Archiv, 5, p. 284. 

' Published by Jean Maspfiro, Etudes sur lea papyrus d'Aphroditfi, Bulletin 
de I'Institut franjais d'archgologie orientale, t. VI., Le Caire, 1908. 

" II. 16, Ktd eirjiTp ipn/op iifur iaTW vvKrbs ral fi/Upas d^iud^voi t^s Kexapur/iiviis 
ii/juSy rapovatas. 


assuring him with a pious sigh at the beginning 
that they awaited him 

"as they watch eagerly from Hades for the future parusia 
of Christ the everlasting God." ^ 

Quite closely related to parusia is another cult- 
word, iiTLffxiveLa, "epiphany," "appearing." How 
closely the two ideas were connected in the age of 
the New Testament is shown by the passage in 
2 Thess. ii. 8, already quoted, and by the associated 
usage of the Pastoral Epistles, in which " epiphany " 
or " appearing " nearly always means the future 
parusia of Christ,^ though once' it is the parusia 
which patristic writers afterwards called "the first." 
Equally clear, however, is the witness of an advent- 
coin struck by Actium-Nicopolis for Hadrian, with 
the legend " Epiphany of Augustus " * ; the Greek 
word coincides with the Latin word "advent" 
generally used on coins. The history of this word 
"epiphany" goes back into the Hellenistic period, 
but I will merely point out the fact, without illustra- 
tion : the observation is not new, but the new proofs 
available are very abundant.^ 

The same parallelism that we have hitherto been 
observing is found again in the names applied to 
persons standing in the relation of servants to Christ 
and the Caesars, and in other similar points. The 

' I. 2, ixSixoiicv . . . otov ol ii'XSov KapaSoKovi'Tes t^p rire toO X{pi.aTo)S ieviov 
«(6o)C vapovalav.. For the Greels text cf. Bom. vili. 19, and p. 374, n. 5 above. 

' 1 Tim. Ti. 14"; 2 Tim. iv. 1, 8 ; Titus ii. 13. 

» 2 Tim. i. 10. 

' Weber, Untersuehungen, p. 196, ^irt^dwa A.6yoiirTov. 

' Cf . [Sir] W. M. Bamsay, "The Manifest God," The Expository Times, Vol. 10 
(1899, February) p. 208 ; Thieme, Die Imehriften von Magnesia am, Mdander 
und dasNeue Testament, p. 34 fE. ; Weinel, IHe Stellung des Urehristentum zma 
Stoat, pp. 20, 50.— Parallels are traceable also in the Christian and secular use 
of the adjectives ^iri^ov^s and ifi^MW^. There is much material relating to the 
Christian use in Hermann Usener, ReligicmsgescldcMliehe JJntersuohwngen, 
Erster Theil, Das Weihnachtsfest, Kapitel I.-III., Bonn, 1889. 


proud words of St. Paul, " We are ambassadors for 
Christ " (2 Cor. v. 20 ; of. Eph. vi. 20), stand out in 
quite different relief when we know that irpea-fievw, 
" I am an ambassador," and the corresponding sub- 
stantive irpea^evTTJs, "ambassador," were the proper 
terms in the Greek East for the Emperor's Legate.^ 

In the same way rrerrio-Tcv/iat, "I am entrusted 
(with an office, with the gospel)," which is repeatedly^ 
used by St. Paul, recalls the Greek name (known 
from literary sources) of the Imperial secretary for 
Greek correspondence,* especially when we remember 
the beautiful figure in 2 Cor. iii. 3, according to which 
St. Paul has a letter to write for Christ.* This 
characteristic expression includes a parallel to the 
technical term *' letter of Augustus," i.e. Imperial 
letter, which is found in an inscription of the Imperial 
period at Ancyra.^ The seven letters of Christ in 
the Revelation to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, 
Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, which 
as regards their form must be reckoned with the 
letters from heaven,® find a background in the social 
history of the time in the numerous Imperial letters 
to cities of Asia Minor or to corporations in those 
cities, which were immediately published in the form 
of inscriptions, and so became known to everybody. 
To mention only addresses that occur in the Apoca- 
lypse, we possess at the present day in inscriptions 

' Examples of the verb from inscriptions, etc., Magie, p. 89 ; innumerable 
examples of the substantive, i^id. p. 86 S. 

" Gal. ii. 7 ; 1 Cor. ix. 17 ; cf. 1 Thess. ii. 4 ; 1 Tim. i. 11 ; Titus i. 3. 

' luljatin at e^tulis Oraeois; in Greek 6 t4s 'EXXij^utfe imaroMs vpiTrav 
irerurreviUvos, and ra^ui irl tuv "ElWiivikQiv iviaroKuiv iteirumviiivas ; examples 
from Galen and Josephus, Magie, p. 71. 

* *ri iffri iiruyToMj XpiffToO SiaKorrjBeura itp' ruiuv, "that ye are a letter oE 
Christ, ministered by us." 

? Cagnat, lascriptiones Graecae ad, res Romatuis pertinentes, III. No. 188 
iirurToXOtt/ "EKKriviKwv [S€]/3(ain-o0), " of the Greek letters of Augustus." 

• Cf. p. 238 above. 


larger or smaller fragments of at least six Ephesus 
letters,^ three Smyrna letters,^ at least seven Per- 
gamum letters,' and perhaps- one Sardis letter,* from 
Roman Emperors, The introductory formula in 
those letters of Christ — ^the solemn " Thus saith " ® — 
comes most assuredly from an Oriental (Old Testa- 
ment) usage, but it is certainly not without interest 
to find at least "Saith"* as the formula at the 
beginning of Imperial letters already of the first 

Philo, Josephus,' and 2 Tim. iii. 15 have made us 
familiar with the name lepa ypdiJLfiaTa, "sacred 
writings," "holy scripture," as a title of dignity for 
the Old Testament. The parallelism between letters 
of Christ and letters of the Emperor becomes stiU 
clearer when we find the same term in technical use 
in the East* for Imperial letters and decrees. In 
pre-Christian inscriptions it often ^ means the " hiero- 
glyphs." But an inscription from Nysa in Caria of the 
time of Augustus " uses it probably of an Imperial" 

' Beferences in L#oa Lafoscade, De epistulis (aliisque titulW) imperatorum 
[p. 147, n. 2 above], pp. 12, 14 f . (Hadrian), 23, 24, 25 (Antoninus Rus), 34 
(Septimius Severus and Caracalla). , 

2 Lafoscade, pp. 29 (Marcus Aurelius), 28 (Antoninus Pius), 29 f . (Marcus 
Aurelius and Lucius Varus) ; all three are addressed to religious associations 
(yjivoSoi) at Smyrna. 

' Lafoscade, pp. 7 f . (Nerva or Trajan), 9 (Trajan), 10, 17 (Hadrian), 23 
(Antoninus Pius), 85 (Caracalla), 58 (various emperors). 

* Lafoscade, p. 59 (uncertain). 
" rdSe 'Kiya. 

' diait and Xfyei. Beferences to inscriptions in Lafoscade, p. 63. 
' References to both authors in Cremer," p. 275 f. 

* Cf. A. Wilhelm, Jahreshefte des Osterreichischen Archaologischen In- 
stitutes in Wien, 3 (1900) p. 77. 

* Examples in Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inicriptiones Selectae, II. p. 642. 
'" Corpus Insoriptiorvum Oraecmiim, No. 2943,o. I think it also possible 

that Ti Itpi, ypdn/iaTa here means old temple documents. 

" Ample illustration of the use of the word "holy" or "sacred" (sacer, 
aanetns, sanctistimus, saeratitsimus} as a designation of the Emperor and 
Imperial institutions in pagan and Christian times is given by W. Sickel, 
Gijttingisohe gelehrte Anzeigen, 1901, p. 387 JBE. 


decree ; and this is certainly the case with an inscription 
from Aezani in Phrygia of the time of Hadrian,^ an 
unpublished inscription of the Imperial period at 
Athens,^ and a bilingual inscription at Paros,^ 204 
A.D., which translates the Greek term in Latin as 
sacra\e Utt'\erae. The Latin Vulgate employs exactly 
the same phrase in rendering 2 Tim. iii. 15 1 The 
phrase ^eia ypa/i/Aara, " divine writings " (used of 
the Bible by patristic writers), is applied quite 
synonymously to letters of the Emperor in an in- 
scription from Tyras on the Dniester, 17 February 201 
A.D.,'' and an inscription from Scaptopare in Bulgaria, 
238 A.D.* The latter refers to Imperial ordinances as 
" divine commandments," ® which resembles the New 
Testament term " God's commandments." '' 

In this connexion attention may once more be 
called to the Primitive Christian's designation of 
himself as SoSXos Xpio-roD, " slave of Christ," which 
we have already^ looked at against another back- 
ground. Though not designed originally as a formula 
of contrast to the cult of the Caesar, it certainly aroused 
sensations of contrast when heard beside the frequent 
title of " slave of the Emperor " : — there were 
Imperial slaves all over the world. One example out 
of many is an inscription® from Dorylaeum in Phrygia, 

' Le Bas-Waddington, No. 860,3, ™'' '^P"'' '■"'' Kaio-apos yj)a)j,ijATu\y']. 

» Of. A. Wilhelm, loe. cit. 

' Ditfcenberger, Sylloge,^ Ko. 415 = Inscriptiones Graeeae, XII., V. l,No. 132. 

* Inscriptioneg Anti^uae Orae Septentrionalis Punti Mixini Graeoae et 
Latinae, ed. Latyschev, I. No. 3a, AyHypatpov tuv Belay ypan/idTwy, " copy of the 
divine writings." 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge,^ No. 418g5, ra Beii, <tov yp&iiiiaTa,, "thy divine 

' Line 51, to?s ddtui hiTo\a7s. 

' ivToKaX eeoO, 1 Cor. vii. 19 ; Rev. xii. 17, xiv. 12. 

" Page 324 fE. 

' Bulletin de Correspondance Hell6nique, 28 (1904) p. 195, 'AyaBSirodt SoiiXip 
Tov Kvpiov AiroKp&Topos. 


Imperial period, which mentions "Agathopus, slave 
of the lord Emperor." 

The same order of parallelism obtains between the 
genitive Xpio-roO, "belonging to Christ" (Gal. iii. 29, 
V. 24 ; I Cor. i. 12, iii. 23, xv. 23 ; 2 Cor. x. 7), and 
the simple genitive Kaio-apov, "belonging to the 
Emperor." The latter, first revealed by the new texts, 
goes back to the Latin elliptic Caesaris, and can be 
established for Egypt by several papyri of the reign 
of Augustus and by inscriptions of the reign of 
Hadrian.^ The analogy which has been already^ 
claimed on linguistic grounds between the oldest name 
for the followers of Christ, Xpio-nai/o's, " Christian," 
and Kaicrapiai'ds, " Caesarian," " Imperial (slave)," ^ 
receives in this connexion new and remarkable 

Characteristic too is the parallel between St. 
Paul's phrase oTreXeu^epos KvpCov, " freedman of 
the Lord" (1 Cor. vii. 22), and the frequent title 
" freedman of the Emperor." It appears, for instance, 
in a Latin inscription of the 2nd century at Cos* 
(Figure 61 ), on the tombstone of the Imperial freedman 
Hermes, who had been an official of the inheritance- 
duties department. In the third and fourth lines he 
is called Augustor{um) n{ostrorum) lib{erto), "freed- 
man of our Augusti." In Greek the title is also of 

' The first examples were given by Wiloken, Oriechisehe Ostraka, I. p. 661 f. 
(the London Papyrus No. 266 is now accessible, Greek Papyri in the British 
Musewm, Vol. II. p. 95 fE.) ; of. also Arohiv fiir Papyrusforschung, 1, p. 145. New 
examples are given by W. Schubart, Archiv, 5, p. 116 fE., who thinks they refer 
to freedmen. 

* Winer-Sohmiedel, § 16, 2c, note 18 (p. 135). 

' References for CaesaHanus in Theodor Mommsen, Hermes, 34 (1899) 
p. 151 f., and Magie, p. 73. 

* Budolf Herzog, Kirisclie Forsolmmgen und Funde, p. 106 f., No. 165. The 
facsimile there given (plate V. 4) is here reproduced (Fig. 61) by kind per- 
mission of the editor and his publisher. The terminus post qucm for the 
inscription is 161 a.d. 

Fig. 61. — Marble Stele from Cos, Tombstone 
of Hermes, an Imperial Freedman, after 
161 A.D. Now in the house of Said Ali in 
the town of Cos. By permission of Rudolf 
Herzog and the publishing house of Tlieodor 
Weicher (Dieterioh'sohe Verlagsbuchhand- 

[p. 382 


j&requent occurrence, with many variations,^ from the 
first century a.d. onwards. 

Finally, when Christ says in St. John's Gospel^ 
(XV. 14 f.) :— 

" Ye are My friends. . . . Henceforth I call you not slaves " — 
the collocation of " slave " and <f)i\o<;, " friend," 
reminds us that the Emperor also had " friends," as 
well as "slaves." "Friend of the Emperor" is an 
official title,' going back probably to the language of 
the court under the successors of Alexander,* and 
found, for instance, in two inscriptions of the Imperial 
period at Thyatira.^ The parallelism becomes still 
clearer afterwards if we compare the adjectives 
^CkoKala-ap and ^L\o<ri^a(TTo<s, "friend of the Emperor," 
which are frequent ® in inscriptions, with the similarly 
formed word ^iXox/jicttos, "friend of Christ," which 
is a favourite with patristic writers,' or if we 
compare the extraordinary word a-e/SaoToyvaa-Tois,* 

' Ze/3a<rToS &ir€\ei$epos or dweXciScpos Kalaapos. Many examples in Magie, 
p. 70. " i/icU ^iXoi /u)u iari . . . 

' Latin cmiicus Caeiaris, Greek (plKm toB SejSao-Toff (cf. the two inscriptions 
from Thyatira), or ^fXos rod Kalaapos, John xix. 12. 

* Cf. Sibelttudien, p. 160 ; Bible St'udiea, p. 167 fi. (The note in Bihehtudien, 
p. 161, Bible Studies, p. 168 f., about John xv. 15 should be cancelled.) 
J. Leipoldt, Theologisches Literaturblatt, 29 (1908) col. 561, shows that the 
title is an ancient Egyptian one. 

' Corpui Imcfrvptiomwm, Graeca/nim Nos. 34994(. and 3300,. 

" Many examples in Dittenberger, Orientis Graeoi Insoriptiones Selectae, II. 
Index, p. 719. 

' ^iX^xptcTO) also made its way among the people, as shown by Christian 
inscriptions, e.g. one from Zorava in Syria, 22 March, 515 A.D. Dittenberger, 
Orientis Graeoi Insoriptiones Selectae, No. 6IO5. 

' Inscriptions from Olbia o. 200 A.D., Latyschev I. No. 2*5 ; from Panti- 
capaenm 249 A.D., Latyschev II. No. 46^; from Frusias on the Hypius in 
Bithynia e. 215 a.d., Bulletin de Oorrespondance EellSnique, 25 (1901) p. 62 S. 
The word receives some explanation from a decree of the Byzantines, 1st cent. 
A.D., Latyschev I. No. 476f., which boasts of a citizen of Olbia that /j^xf- tos tui' 
Sepaarwi/ yviiaeios irpoKdltplayros, "he had advanced to personal acquaintance 
with the Augnsti (Augustus and Tiberius)." This inscription helps us more- 
over to understand some 7»i3«s-passages in the N.T. In Phil. iii. 8, for 
instance, the word does not denote speculative knowledge of Christ, but 
personal and pneumatic acqnaintamee with Christ. 


" acquainted with the Emperor," with the Christian 
deoyvaa-Tos,] " acquainted with God." 

10, Have the gold coins regained somewhat of 
their old clearness of definition ? Looking back on 
the parallelism between the cult of Christ and the 
cult of Caesar, the lines of which might be yet further 
prolonged, we may say this: it is one of the historical 
characteristics of Primitive Christianity that it made 
religion a serious business. Its uncompromisingly 
religious^ character, tolerating no concessions to 
irreligion, is never seen more clearly than when we 
try to realise the oppressive sensations of contrast 
that tortured the saints in Christ even in the days 
of Nero when confronted with the glittering formulae 
of the cult of the sovereign. 

In fact one abiding result of every really close 
study of the religious records of the world contem- 
porary with the New Testament is this : they quicken 
our sense of religion, especially of the simple, vigorous, 
popular forms of the religion which is seen at work 
in the gospel and in the earliest cult of Christ, and 
which is still a living force in the New Testament 
to-day. Our learned forefathers used most commonly 
to pursue a retrospective method in their study of the 
sacred volume, looking backward into the earUestages 
of Christianity from the point of view of churchmen 
and theologians of their own day. They judged the 
primitive age accordingly ; and the New Testament, 
containing the relics of that age, they conceived and 
made use of as the classical textbook of dogma and 
ethics. But if we approach our sacred Book from 

> References in Thesaurus Gfraeoae Linguae and Sophocles' GreeJi Lexicon. 
2 This side is rightly emphasised by Franz Cmnont and Albrecht Dieterich; 
cf. Bonner Jahrbuoher, Heft 108, p. i\. 


the very world that surrounded the New Testament, 
i.e. from the Imperial age and from the middle and 
lower classes of society, then with the same eyes that 
modern theological prejudices had previously bhnded 
to reUgion, we shall see that the New Testament, 
really a sacred Book, is not a creature of theology, 
but of religion. The written memorials of the New 
Testament age quickened our sense of the charac- 
teristics of the popular language, and of the nature 
of things non-Uterary, and now they make clear to us 
the nature of things non-theological. 

I speak of course of theology and things theological 
in the sense that we connect with the words nowadays. 
If we stiU felt and appreciated the ancient meaning 
of the word " theologus," ^ we might unhesitatingly 
call the New Testament a theological book ; for that 
would mean practically nothing more than that it 
was a prophetic and reUgious book. But that was 
certainly not the meaning of those scholars who laid 
stress on the theological character of the New Testa- 
ment. They wanted to display its (in the main) 
didactic, considered, systematic contents. If religion 
is to us an inner life in God, theology is scientific 
consideration about religion and its historical eifects. 
But the considered element in the New Testament 
falls very much behind the unconsidered naivete of 
the purely religious, the prophetic, and the devotional. 
And tiiough we may be inclined, in the atmosphere 
of our Western doctrinairism, to spread the grey 
nimbus of system over the New Testament, the sun 
of its Anatolian home affords us joyful glimpses of 
the breadth and depth of that divine strength grown 
human which streams immeasurable from the con- 
fessions in this Anatolian book. The mere paragraphs 

> Cf. p. 352 1 above. 



vanish ; personalities rise before us, heroes from the 
multitude of despised and forgotten ones : Elias is 
come again to prepare the way, then the Anointed 
of the Lord in His first parusia, and lastly His world- 
evangeUst, St. Paul, and our other Apostolic Fathers. 
Like John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth is al- 
together non-theological.^ He is. not a speculative 
doctrinaire. He is altogether religion, spirit, fire. 
It would be a mistake to speak of a theological 
system in the case of Jesus. He never thought out 
a paragraph, never penned a single tractate. He is 
so simple that the children cry out with joy at His 
approach, and the very poorest understand Him. 
Insignificant persons, unknown by name, who had no 
idea of the value of literal accuracy, handed on His 
" doctrine " in the homely garb of the popular lan- 
guage. Jesus thought nothing of the theology of 
His age: He even thanks His Father for having 
hidden His profoundest revelations from the wise 
and prudent. The lightnings of His prophetic scorn 
descend upon the theological authorities who paid 
tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, but omitted 
mercy and faith. Contemplative theology, the off- 
spring of doubt, was completely outside the sphere 
of His nature, because He was in daily personal in- 
tercourse with the higher world, and the living God 
was in Him. To this latter fact His confessions. 
His words of controversy, consolation, and reproof 
bear witness. It is impossible to unite all these 
sayings into the artistic mosaic of an evangelical 
system : they are the reflection of an inner life full 
of unbroken strength, fuU of purity, full of devotion 
to God and His human family. 

' For what follows cf. my sketch entitled Theologie und Kirche, Tubingen 
und Leipzig, 1901, p. 6. 


Again Paul the Apostle, the other great figure that 
stands sharply outUned historically at the beginning 
of our religion, belongs, best part of him, to the age 
before theology.^ It is true he is the disciple of a 
theological school, and as a Christian missionary he 
not unfrequently makes use of the traditional theo- 
logical methods. But the tent- weaver of Tarsus must 
not for that reason be numbered with Origen, Thomas 
Aquinas, and Schleiermacher, but with the herdman 
of Tekoa, the shoemaker of Gorhtz, and the ribbon- 
weaver of Mtilheim,^ Are we really listening to the 
pulsations of his heart when we hear him interpret 
aUegorically the story of Hagar and Sarah ? Are we 
not infinitely nearer to his soul, his personality, the 
best that is in him, when we behold him on his 
knees, crushed, annihilated, and new-created by the 
grace of His God ? His sentences concerning the 
Law — are they calm, pointed theses fi-om a theo- 
logical debate, or are they not rather confessions of 
a tortured and liberated soul ? Is Paul the inventor 
of a dogma of Christ, or is he not rather the witness 
of the Christ experienced by him ? Is to him the 
glory of the Living One a theory thought out in the 
study, or was it not rather flashed upon him in a 
sacred hour of revelation ? Paul the theologian 
belongs to the history of Rabbinism : his interpre- 
tation of Scripture, in which his theology for the 
most part concentrates, is in no way original or 
historically distinctive. Paul the theologian vanishes 
beside Rabban Gamaliel and the other Tanaitic 

• Ibid. p. 6 ffi. 

' [The prophet Amos is fairly recognisable, but English readers may be re- 
minded that Jakob Bohme, the mystic, 1575-1624, lived and died at Gorlitz, 
Gerhard Tersteegen, the devotional writer, 1697-1769, at Miilheim. The hymn 
" Thou hidden love of God, whose height," was translated by John Wesley 
from Tersteegen. Tb.] 


fathers.^ It is not in the history of theology that 
Paul is a characteristic figure, but in the history 
of religion. And there his importance lies essen- 
tially in the fact that, being whoUy un-rabbinic 
and whoUy pre-dogmatic, he planted the living roots 
of religion in the spiritually present Person of the 
living Lord Jesus Christ. This he did, not by any 
new artifices of speculative theology, but by the 
power of his experience of Christ, from which faith 
streamed forth with triumphant strength of attrac- 
tion. From the time of St. Paul there is, not 
Christology, but Christolatry, a Christianity of 
Christ. Paul is not like the many Christological 
speculators among us, who attain to the worship of 
Christ on a Sunday only if they have somehow 
during the week assured themselves of a Christology. 
Primary with St. Paul are his mystic appreciation 
of Christ, based on his experience at Damascus, and 
the cult of Christ which was kindled at that flame. 
Out of the mysticism and the cult there springs his 
contemplation of Christ, which, though occasionally 
employing the forms of older Messianic dogmatic, is 
in its whole tone different from later Christological 
speculation. The subject upon which Christological 
speculation exercises itself so painfully is Christ as 
experienced by other people in the past ; St. Paul's 
contemplation of Christ proceeds from his own ex- 
perience of Christ and is nourished by the spiritual 
strength of the present Christ. Doctrinaire Christology 
looks backward into history as if under some speU ; 
St. Paul's contemplation of Christ gazes clear-eyed 
into the future. Christology stands brooding beside 

' The Tanaim, so called tiom tana, " to repeat," were the scholars, over 100 
in irambeT, who c. 10-210 A.D. helped to make the tradition which was finally 
embodied in the Mishna ("repetition," from ihana, " to repeat "). [Tb.] 


an empty grave ; St. Paul sees piercingly into a 
heaven full of the Living Presence. Even the cross, 
as viewed by the apostle, is not a bald, lifeless " fact " 
in the past, but a portion of the living present. To 
him there is no such thing as a completed "work" 
of Christ : Christ is working still perpetually, and 
in fact the best is yet to come, for Christ Himself 
shall come. 

Ultimately, therefore, it is the religious content^ 
that gives its stamp to Primitive Christianity. The 
Epistle to the Hebrews, being marked by a strongly 
theological character, with artistic literary form to 
match,^ cannot be assigned to the classical age of 
Primitive Christianity. Modern scholasticism has 
turned confessions of the inspired into chapters of 
the learned, and in so doing has worked the same 
change on the subject-matter of the New Testament 
as was produced in its form when its non-literary 
letters were treated as works of literature and its 
popular language as a sacral variety of Greek. If, 
however, we approach the sacred Book by way of 
the ancient world contemporary with it, our pre- 
conceptions vanish. 

Far away in the East there rises up before us, 
higher and higher above the thronging crowd of 
poor and lowly, a Sacred Form. To His own He 
is already the Saviour and giver of light ; to the great 
world He is invisible as yet in the morning twilight, 
but it too shall one day bow before Him. In His 
profound intimacy with God and in manly strength 

' It was significant in the history of New Testament scholarship tbat the 
venerable Nestor of the subject, Bemhard Weiss, should crown his life-work 
on the New Testament with a book (1903) entitled Die ReUgixm dei Neuen 
Teitanienti. To investigate the religion of the New Testament remains the 
last and highest task of every specialist in these studies, 

« Of. pp. 64 f ., 243, 245, above. 


of consciousness of His Messianic mission Jesus of 
Nazareth is the sheer incarnation of religious inward- 
ness fixed solely on the Kingdom of God, and 
therefore He is strong to fight and worthy of the 
highest grace in store for Him — that of being 
allowed to lay down His life for the salvation of 
the many. 

Not as second beside Him, but as first after Him 
and first in Him, stands the great convert in whose 
ardent soul all the Paschal experiences of the first 
disciples, with their insistent trend towards a cult 
of Christ, were focussed. Paul of Tarsus, having 
experienced in his own person more than any other 
man the mysteries of the cult of Christ, creates 
classical forms for their expression, and goes out 
to the Mediterranean world from which he sprung 
to gain adherents for the gospel that is being so 
gloriously extended. 

11. What were the forces enabling this infant cult 
of Christ to gain its converts? Let us attempt to 
view the new propagandist religion as it presented 
itself characteristically to the men of the Hellenistic 
Mediterranean world. 

Our survey of Primitive Christianity on its way 
from the East can of course take account only of 
the most strongly marked lines. Microscopic ex- 
amination is as irnpossible as when we view some 
great antique sculpture in relief. We have to step 
backward ; then, and not till then, we see what 
gave to the propagandist religion of Primitive 
Christianity its historic character. And so we will 
not make ten, a dozen, or maybe scores of longitudinal 
sections through Primitive Christianity, legitimate 
as such work is in itself, but we will take one single 


transverse section through Primitive Christianity 
conceived as a whole and a unity. For even 
though the rehgion of the apostles does display 
an abundance of diflFerent personal types, the men 
of antiquity were influenced first of aU not by the 
abundance of individual elements, but by the style 
and spirit of the common element. 

I have a lively sense of the difficulty we encounter, 
as men of another epoch, in taking this rapid survey 
of Primitive Christianity from the point of view of 
an ancient, and I shall be glad to receive instruction 
if I have seen wrongly. But to prove that the 
main result of my inspection is not altogether wrong 
I may mention an observation of mine made after 
I had myself ventured on that rapid survey. I 
found that the greatest missionary document in the 
New Testament, St. Paul's speech on the Areo- 
pagus at Athens,^ which aimed at exhibiting to 
pagans of a great city in the Mediterranean world 
what was characteristic of the new religion as con- 
cisely as possible, has selected as characteristic just 
the very things which seem to us by the aid of 
recent discoveries to be so. The speech is not a 
verbatim report, but it is no less certain that it 
reveals the spirit of St. Paul, and that it is a 
■manifesto of worldwide importance in the history 
of religions and of religion. For the sake of this 
speech the philologists ought to forgive cheerfully 
all the sins subsequently committed by theological 
fanatics against the ancient world, especially if they 
are themselves preparing to atone for their own 
shortcomings, at least for their indifference towards 
the greatest book of the Imperial age. 

Before pointing out positive characteristics of the 

' Acts xvii. 22-31. 


ethical and reli^ous order certain preliminary questions 
must be touched upon. 

In the first place we must refer once again to 
the great fact of social history which has so often 
engaged our attention in these pages — the popular 
character of Primitive Christianity. Unless this fact 
is known and well emphasised it is impossible to 
explain historically the success of the attractive 
power of the gospel. St. Paul's mission was the 
mission of an artisan, tlot the mission of a scholar. 
The gospel call, intelligible to the many because 
uttered in the popular colloquial language of the 
world, never implied the social uprooting' of any- 
body by renunciation of his native stratum and 
elevation to the regions of anaemic theory. On 
the contrary, we shall see that it only strengthened 
and ennobled the feeling of solidarity among the 
humbly situated. 

There is one other fact closely connected with 
this. The characteristic features of the propagandist 
religion were not contained in separate novel " ideas." 
The book which has most strongly insisted on the 
supposed novelty of countless "ideas" and "mean- 
ings" in the New Testament — I mean Cremer's 
Lexicon— is by reason of this dogmatic tendency 
one of the greatest hindrances to an historical grasp 
of the real expansive force of Primitive Christianity. 
In all that relates to the forms and meanings of 
words Primitive Christianity is more in contact than 
in contrast with the surrounding world: 

" Christians are distinguished from other men neither by 
country, nor by language, nor by customs. , For nowhere 
do they inhabit cities of their own, nor do they make use 

' 1 Cor. vii. 20. 


of any exceptional dialect, nor do they practise a con- 
spicuous mode of life/' 
In tiiese words a Christian writer^ of a very early 
period, almost contemporary with the new Testament, 
has sketched for us the outward contact between his 
co-religionists and the surrounding world. 

Nor to the men of antiquity did those features 
appear characteristically Christian which the common 
sense of a modem a^tator generally seizes upon as 
the really remarkable thing about the New Testament, 
and which, modestly content to annihilate Christianity 
by means of common sense alone, he cheerfully pro- 
ceeds to refute while their no better equipped apologist 
as excitedly defends them — I mean the miracles. As 
a matter of fact the miracles gave to the New Testa- 
ment a singularly popular position in the world around 
it. The whole ancient world is full of miracles ; 
definite tj^es of miracle become fixed by the tradition 
of thousands of years and occur again and again in all 
sorts of places.^ Viewed amid the surroundings of its 
own age and social stratum the New Testament is 
seen to be shy, rather than otherwise, of narrating 
miracles.' With Jesus, St. Paul, and St. John we 
even find occasionally an ironical attitude towards 
the popular taste for miracles,* and it is highly 
significant that the great mass of the sayings of Jesus 

' Epistle to Diognetns, 5 : X.pumw>oL yd,p oSre 7S offre tpiai'^ aire (Beai SiaxeK/u- 
pAvQL Tuv \onruy elffiv iv$pix}'7ruv. o&re ydp irov 7r(5\ets Ibias KaroiKoOfftv oihe Sia- 
"KiKTiji nvl TapTJKKayiiivri xpuvToi oSre /Siw irapAatiiiOv inKovtriv. 

' Mnoh material will be fonnd in Th. Trede, Wuiiderglaube im, Meidemtv/m 
wad in, der alien Kirche, Gotha, 1901 (cf. my remarks in Die Christliohe Welt, 20 
[1906] ool. 291 f.) ; B. Lembert, Der Wwnderglaube 6ei Momem mid ffriechen, 
1. Teil : Das Wunder bei den romiscben Historikem, Angsbnrg, 1905 ; B. Beitz- 
enstein, JETellenistische Wv/ndererzSMvm,gen, Leipzig, 1906 (on aretalogy cf . also 
my Bibelstudien, p. 88 fi. ; £ible Studies, p. 93 ft). 

' This point is very properly emphasised by G. Heinrici, Der Ktterarisohe 
Chwrakter der newtesta/nientlichen Sehriften, p. 41 f. 

* Lnke xi. 29 with parallels ; Matt. xvi. 1 fe. ; 1 Cor. i. 22 ; 2 Cor. xii. 8 f . ; 
John iv. 48, xx. 29. 


in the synoptic tradition are not brought into any 
organic connexion with miracles. Nevertheless the 
New Testament, as it was bound to be, is a book of 
miracles. If, however, we have once grasped historic- 
ally the nature and necessity of the miracles in the 
New Testament, we realise also how dear they are to 
the heart of the people, how childlike in their piety, 
how sincerely beautiful, and what high value they can 
even possess as revelation. But the miracles, as such, 
have nothing to do with the historical peculiarity 
of Primitive Christianity, 

First and foremost among the historical charac- 
teristics of Primitive Christianity we should rather 
place that which the journalism of our day, as ignorant 
as it is impious, often dares to represent as a perfectly 
obvious triviality, viz, the One living God, The 
solemn and impressive presence of the One God 
pervades the lines of that powerful manifesto on the 
Areopagus, Not that the world was unprepared for 
the One God : the Greek thinkers, Plato especially, 
had prepared the way for Him, and the Christian 
■orator speaks thankfully of certain among their poets 
who had had knowledge of God,^ These had been 
helped by the propaganda of the Greek Jews of the 
Dispersion with their cosmopolitan Bible,^ And now 
He came, the One and Eternal, on the way prepared 
by Greeks and Jews, came to souls drawn hither 
and thither by the worship of many gods ; to souls 
restlessly seeking and feeling after Him ; " and came 
as a God who, though Creator and Lord of Heaven 
and of earth,* is yet worshipped without image and 

■ Acts xvii. 28. 

' Cf. my sketch Die Ilellenisierung des semitisolien Motwtheisirms, Leipzig, 
' Acts xvii. 27. 
' xvii. 24. 



without temple,^ and is always accessible even to the 
poorest, in a spiritual presence,^ 

" For in Him we live, and move, and have our being." * 

But the new cult took this One God seriously. No 
compromises detracted from the Christians' faith in 
God, and in their protest against the deification of the 
Sovereign they were ready before long to face even 

And second we should place the object of the cult 
in the narrower sense, Jesus Christ, who did not 
displace the One, but was in the eyes of the 
worshippers His incarnation. All the preaching of 
the missionaries was, like the speech on Mars' Hill,* a 
preaching of Christ ; and every hearer of the mission- 
aries felt that they were introducing the cult of 
Christ. Of course it was the cult of a Living Person.^ 
The cult of Christ is no feeble meditation upon 
"historical "facts, but pneumatic communion with One 
Present. The facts of the past first receive illumina- 
tion jfrom the heavenly transfiguration of the Present 
One. But thus illumined they appeal to the souls of 
those who are touched, thrilUng, comforting, trans- 
forming, edifying them. The eternal glory of the 
Divine Child with His Father, His coming down to 
earth in voluntary self-abnegation and servitude. His 
life of poverty with the poor. His compassion. His 
temptations and His mighty works, the inexhaustible 
riches of His words. His prayers. His bitter suffering 
and death, and after the cross His glorious Resur- 
rection and return to the Father — all these episodes 
in the great divine drama, whose peripeteia lay not 
in hoary antiquity, but had been witnessed a score or 
so of years ago, were intelligible to every soul, even 

' xvii. 24 f., 29. ■' xvii. 27. » xvii. 28. 

* xvii. 31. ' xvii. 31. 


to the poorest, and particularly to the poorest. And 
the titles with which the devotee decked the beloved 
object of his cult could, many of them, claim domicile 
in the souls of the poor and the simple : titles such 
as Lamb of God, the Crucified, Shepherd and Chief 
Shepherd,^ Comer Stone, Door and Way, the Corn 
of Wheat, Bread and Vine, Light and Life, Head 
and Body, Alpha and Omega, Witness, Mediator and 
Judge, Brother, Son of Man, Son of God, Word of 
God and Image of God, Saviour, High Priest, Lord, 
King. Unfathomable in intellectual content, giving 
scope to every variety of personal Christian experience 
and every motive of self-sacrificing obedience, this 
series contains not a single title that was likely to 
impress by mere sacerdotal associations or unintelli- 
gibleness. In the same way the gospel tradition of 
worship, with its sturdy, popular tone, was far 
superior to the fantastic, hysterical mythologies of the 
other cults, which piled one stimulant on another. 
So too the celebration of the mysteries of Christ 
required no magnificent temple or awe-inspiring 
cavern : it could take place wherever two or three were 
gathered together in His name. All great move- 
ments in the.history of our race have been determined 
by conditions of the heart of the people, not by 
intellect. The triumph of the cult of Christ over all 
other cults — the point must here be once more 
emphasised — is in no remote degree explainable by 
the fact that from the first Christianity took deep 
root in the heart of the many, in the hearts of men 
and women, old and young, bond and free, Jews, 
Greeks, and Barbarians.^ In its early days Christianity 

' Cf. pp. 97 ff. above. 

^ The popular universality of the cult of Christ is reflected by such passages 
of St. Paul's writings as Gal. iii. 28, Col. iii. 11, 1 Cor. xii. 13. 


made conquest of hearts not because it was a " re- 
ligion of redemption," as people are fond of saj^g 
nowadays, substituting the impersonal for the personal, 
— ^but because it was the cult of a Redeemer. 

The Primitive Christian cult of Christ was preserved 
from doctrinaire congelation not only by the tendency 
to realise daily the presence of the living Master, but 
— and this is the third characteristic feature — ^by the 
expectation of His second parusia and the hope of 
Eternity that grew therefrom. The climax of the 
speech on the Areopagus was a proclamation of 
the approaching Last Judgment.^ This is not the 
simple extension of the belief in immortality which 
had long been quickening here and there in men's 
hearts; it is a clamping together of the fortunes of this 
world with the future of the Kingdom of God such 
as probably no other religion could show. Not only 
were souls upheaved and brought to a state of tense 
excitement, but consciences were filled with pro- 
found earnestness. 

And that is the last feature : the moral earnestness 
of Christianity. The moral element is not a foreign 
body within the cult, still less is it external to the 
sacred precinct; it is indi visibly united with the religion 
and the cult. No artist versed in things of the soul, 
whether of the earlier or of the subsequent period, — 
not Sophod^, nor Augustine, nor Dante, nor 
Goethe has succeeded in disclosing deeper depths 
of guilty consciousness than the apostohc pastors 
found in themselves. No one has borne more 
convincing testimony concerning personal responsi- 
bility, the necessity of inward regeneration and 
reconciliation with Gk>d, than the missionaries whom 
the Spirit of Jesus Christ impelled through the 

' Acts xvii. 31. 


world. The organic connexion of religion with 
morality, which from the first formed part of the 
essence of Christianity, and might be experienced 
anew daily in the realisation of the presence of God 
and of Christ, was intelligible even to a plain man 
when next to love of God love of one's neighbour 
was demanded, and next to fellowship with Christ 
the following after Him. Moreover, the organisa- 
tions of the earliest churches were visible embodiments 
of such social ethics as fairly filled the soul of ancient 
man with enthusiasm. The idea of the unity of the 
human race, classically expressed in the speech on 
the Areopagus,^ united with St. Paul's preaching of 
the Body of Christ to strengthen and ennoble the 
feeling of solidarity which then, as the inscriptions 
have shown, pervaded the lower orders of society 
like a healthy arterial current and had led to the 
formation of numerous guilds^ among the common 
people. In the " assemblies " of the Christians, which 
were doubtless looked upon as guilds of Christ* 
by the men of the time, that brotherhood which 
proved itself effectual by charitable gifts dispatched 
over land and sea took shape. Considered even from 
the general point of view of social history they 
were probably the most vigorous organisations, and 
the richest in inspiration, of the whole Imperial 
period. We must never forget that for them those 
pages were penned whose remains were afterwards 
saved from destruction in the New Testament. A 
cult in whose conventicles a prayer like the Lord's 
Prayer could be offered and an ethical text be read 

> Acts xvil. 26. 

' The literature relating to ancient guilds (including religious guilds) is 
well summarised in Schiirer, Oeeohiohte des jildisohen Volkes, III.' p. 62 fE. 

' Of. the works (quoted by Sohurer, op. oit., p. 62) of Georg Heinrici, who 
was the first to point out this analogy with proper emphasis. 


such as the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, simple in 
form as it is mighty in ethos, possessed powers of 
gaining converts which were irresistible. 

12. The paean of love chanted at Ephesus under 
Nero for the poor saints of Corinth, has not perished 
with Corinth. Annihilated for ever, the magnificence 
of Nero's Corinth lies buried to-day beneath silent 
rubbish-mounds and green vineyards on the terraces 
between the mass of the Acrocorinthus and the shore 
of the Gulf: nothing but ruins, ghastly remnants, 
destruction. The words of that paean, however, have 
outlasted the marble and the bronzes of the Empire, 
because they had an unassailable refuge in the secret 
depths of the soul of the people. The Corinthian 
Christians, who suffered other writings of St. Paul 
to be lost, preserved these ; copies were taken and 
circulated ; at the turning-point of the first and 
second century 1 Corinthians was already known at 
Rome, and probably St. Paul's other letters were 
also in circulation then in the Christian assemblies, 
of the great Mediterranean coast-cities, guarded 
with the gospels and other texts of the fathers as 
an heirloom and treasure, separated from the false 
texts, becoming more and more identified with the 
books, and finally incorporated in the Book of the 
sacred writings of the New Testament. 

Without shutting our eyes to the dangers that 
lay in the Book when it came to be judged as 
a book, we may nevertheless confess that this Book 
of the New Testament has remained the most 
valuable visible possession of Christendom, down 
to the present day. 

A book from the ancient East, and lit up by the 
light of the dawn, — a book breathing the fragrance 


of the Galilean spring, and anon swept by the 
shipwrecking north-east tempest from the Mediter- 
ranean, — a book of peasants, fishermen, artisans, 
travellers by land and sea, fighters and martyrs,— 
a book in cosmopolitan Greek with marks of Semitic 
origin,— a book of the Imperial age, written at 
Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Rome,— a book of 
pictures, miracles, and visions, book of the village 
and the town, book of the people and the peoples, — 
the New Testament, if regard be had to the inward 
side of things, is the great book, chief and singular, of 
human souls. 

Because of its psychic depth and breadth this book 
of the East is a book for both East and West, a 
book for humanity : a book ancient but eternal. 

And because of the figure that emerges irom the 
book — ^the Redeemer, accompanied by the multitude 
of the redeemed, blessing and consoling, exhorting 
and renewing, revealing Himself anew to every 
generation of the weary and heavy-laden, and grow- 
ing from century to century more great — ^the New 
Testament is the Book of Life. 



1. About mid-day on Easter Sunday, 1906, at 
Ephesus, I was crossing in company with Friedrich 
von Duhn and other friends a wildly luxuriant field 
of acanthus on our way from the Library of Celsus to 
the luncheon tent hospitably erected for us by the 
Austrians, when my eye fell on an antique marble 
acanthus capital that lay to the left of the path com- 
pletely embedded in the thick, exuberant greenery of 
living acanthus leaves. 

That little episode kept recurring to my mind, and 
its symbolism revealed itself afterwards when, as we 
sailed the waters of Crete and the Cyclades, we found 
leisure to meditate upon what we had seen. 

The contrast between the conventionalised marble 
acanthus leaves and their verdant wild originals seemed 
to me an image of the contrast between the methods 
of research characteristic of my own special studies. 

On the one hand the method which convention- 
alises the New Testament by isolating and canonising 
its language, by turning its non-literary texts into 
Uterature and its rehgious confessions into hard and 
stony dogma ; — on the other hand the method which 
takes possession in the work-room of every one who 
studies the New Testament historically and psycho- 
logically as the ancient East at large can and must 
be studied at the present day. 

This method does not look upon the New Testa- 

401 26 


ment as a museum of statues in marble and bronze, 
but as a spacious garden, God's garden, thriving in 
luxurious growth under the spring sunshine of the 
East. No painter can reproduce the pale green of 
its young fig-leaves and the blood-red of its Easter 
anemones ; the sombre melancholy of its olive groves, 
the gentle tremor of its vine tendrils cannot be de- 
scribed ; and in the sacred precinct, where for the pure 
a fountain of living water springs beneath primeval 
cedars, the solemn sUence bids the surveyor avaunt 
who had approached with line and measuring staff. 

Some day, when yet stronger waves of light come 
flooding over to us from the East, it will be recognised 
that the restoration of the New Testament to its 
native home, its own age and social level, means 
something more than the mere repatriation of our 
sacred Book. It brings with it new life and depth to 
aU our conceptions of Primitive Christianity. But 
already perhaps we may say that when theologians 
engage in the study of inscriptions, papyri, and ostraca 
of the Imperial period, their work is not the pastime 
of cranks, but is justified by the imperious demands 
of the present state of scholarship. For a long time 
the theologians were content to don the cast-off gar- 
ments of the philologists, and to drag with them 
through the New Testament critical methods that 
had long been given up by the masters of the scien- 
tific study of antiquities, until they fairly dropped to 
pieces. Are we now to wait another twenty years, 
and then go limping after the philologists, who by 
that time will have struck still better sources ? Or 
shall we not rather, undeterred by the absurd and 
depreciatory remark about being "mere" philologists, 
ourselves lay hands on the mighty mass of material 
for research that a bountiful Providence has bestowed 


on our unworthiness ? In particular, the one great 
historical fact which must be recognised if a man is 
to be either a good exegetist and systematist or a 
good preacher and pastor — the fact of the close in- 
ward connexion between the gospel and the lower 
classes — cannot be realised by visionary speculation, 
however ingenious, working solely upon the common- 
places of obsolete monographs. Such knowledge 
must be deciphered and painfully deduced from the 
thousands and tens of thousands of lines of torn and 
mangled writing newly recovered from the age of the 
New Testament. Albert Kalthoff^ was certainly 
a gifted writer, and he certainly had a heart for the 
lower orders of the people, but he was not fitted to 
be the historian or even the historical philosopher 
of the origins- of our faith, and his attempt to demo- 
cratise Primitive Christianity was doomed to failure 
because he had not by the tedious process of detailed 
work made himself at home among the mass of 
humanity in the Imperial period. Instead of inves- 
tigating the real psyche of the masses and ultimately 
discovering within the masses the leading personalities 
who ma,de the individual to be an individual indeed 
and raised him out of the masses, KalthofF and his 
works ended like an unhappy " stickit minister " ^ — 
with a witches' sabbath of homeless ideas.' 

' [The Bremen pastor (1850-1906), author of Die MdsteJmng des Chrigten- 
tv/ms, Jena, 1904, translated by Joseph McCabe under the title, The Rise of 
ChmHiamMy, London (Watts), 1907. Tb.] 

^ [German, me em missratener Stiftler, " like an unsuccessful alumnus of 
the (Tubingen) Seminary." The Protestant Seminary or " Stift " at Tubingen, 
founded in 1537, has a very high reputation and is recruited from the pick of 
the schools of Wiirttemberg. F. C. Baur and D. F. Strauss (the theologians) 
F. T. Visoher (writer on aesthetic), Eduard Zeller (the philosopher), and 
Morike (the poet) were among its distinguished pupils. But of course there 
are also failures. Te.] 

' Karl Kautsky's theory must be similarly criticised ; cf. his book, Der 
Vrtprimg dea Chriitentvms. Eine historisohe Untersuchung, Stuttgart, 1908. 
In contrast therewith, because springing from real familiarity with the 


2. The method of research suggested by the new 
texts is valuable also in tracing the later history of 
Christianity. I merely mention the fact, and may be 
allowed to refer to the hints given in Chapter 111., 
in the course of interpreting certain early Christian 
letters emanating from the lower classes. Even when 
Christianity had risen from the workshop and the 
cottage to the palace and the schools of learning, it 
did not desert the workshop and the cottage. The 
living roots of Christianity remained in their native 
soil — the lower ranks of society — and regularly in the 
cycle of the years, when autumn had gathered the 
topmost leaves and the dry boughs had snapped 
beneath the storms of winter, the sap rose upward and 
woke the buds from slumber, with promise of blossom 
and rich days of fruitage.^ Jesus the carpenter and 
Paul the weaver of tent-cloth mark the beginnings, 
and again at the most momentous crisis in the history 
of later Christianity there comes another homo novus 
in the person of Luther, the miner's son and peasant's 

The history of Christianity, with all its wealth of 
incident, has been treated much too often as the 
history of the Christian literary upper class, the 
history of theologians and ecclesiastics, schools, 
councils, and parties, whereas Christianity itself has 

modern scientific study of antiquity, cf. Ernst Troeltsoh, Die Sozlallehren der 
christlichen Kirchen, Archiv fiir Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, 26, 
p. 1 fE. 

' Since writing the above I have come across the following beautiful 
quotation from Eaabe's Hungerpastor in a review by Wilhelm Kosoh (Deutsche 
Literaturzeitang, 29 [1908] col. 2826) of August Sauer's Uteratiirgesohiehte 
und Volkshmde, Prag, 190T, a book with an important bearing on our subject, 
as regards the methods to be employed. Raabe says : " Xhe deliverers of 
humanity rise from the depths, and as the springs of water come from the 
depths to make the land fruitful, so the field of humanity is perpetually being 
refreshed from the depths." [Wilhelm Eaabe, b. 1831, published his most 
characteristic novel, Der Himgerpastor, in 1864. Tb.] 


often been most truly alive in quarters remote from 
councils and outside the polemical tractates of 
Protestant zealots. One great merit of the book 
on German Church History in the nineteenth century 
by Christian Tischhauser,^ lecturer at the Bale Mis- 
sionary College,^ is that it takes account of under- 
currents which are usually ignored either because 
they erect themselves no literary monuments, or 
because the humble literature produced by them is 
overwhelmed, if it ever survives the day for which 
it was written, and crowded out into the worst- 
lighted rooms of the hibUotheca Christiana by the 
collected works of writers on academic Christianity 
and church politics. 

From gospel times down to our own day Christian 
piety, simple and vigorous, has been a living force 
in the middle and lower classes. There its own 
popular forms sof expression were created and its 
own popular types of personality were experienced. 
To investigate the laws determining the formation 
of these expressions, to study the psychology of the 
inner life of spontaneous Christian piety, is a task 
of great charm and value to the scholar and an 
absolutely indispensable pre-requisite in the training 
of a popular pastorate. The training of our candidates 
for the ministry is as a rule far too scholastic for the 
actual work they are called upon to do in practice. 
Most of us criticise the forms of expression chosen 
by popular Christianity in the past and in the 
present, much as Blass did the letter written by the 
bad boy Theon * — as if it were a case of degeneration. 

' CfeicMohte Aer evangelUchen Ki/rche DeutscMamds in der ersten Sdlfte des 
19 Jahrhwndertt, Basel, 1900. See the important review of the book by 
W. Walther, Theologisches Literaturblatt, 21 (1900) col. 282. 

' It is no mere accident that this task should have been taken up by one 
connected with missionary work. ' Cf. p. 187, above. 


There are very few people, for instance, who can 
enter into sympathetic relation with the popular 
art of the Catacombs and with the naivete, true- 
hearted as it often is, of the early Christian popular 
literature that has come down to us in the remains 
of " apocryphal" gospels and acts of apostles. Deluded 
by the belief that there is no value except in things 
that have reaUy happened and can be proved to have 
happened, we cast out the miracles in these popular 
books, and with them the books themselves, upon 
the dust-heap. 

As a matter of fact, however, the child Jesus 
healing the woodman who had been injured by the 
falling axe,^ and the Jesus who restores the withered 
hand of a stonemason,^ are striking proofs of the 
intenseness of the confidence with which the various 
handicrafts did homage to the carpenter's Son, each 
in its own place of work. We know how it will 
be : to shepherds He will become the Chief Shepherd, 
to sailors the steersman, to travellers the guide, to 
soldiers the commander; He will bless the seed for 
the peasants, and He will sit at table with us, a 
daily invited guest, in the breaking of bread. 

3. Thus I have already been led to speak of the 
work in store for research.' Further to speak on this 
subject is at the same time easy and yet difficult for 
me. It is easy because I believe I can discern 
problems in plenty, because I am convinced that 

' Cf . p. 33, n. 3 above. 

2 Special addition in the Gospel according to the Hebrews to Matt. xii. 10 
and parallels. 

' Of course I speak here only of problems connected with the subject of 
this book. For other New Testament problems see the programme suggested 
in an important work by Johannes Weiss, Die Aiifgahen der neviestamemtlwhen 
WiHSensehaft in der Gegenwart, Gijttingen, 1908; and Paul Fiebig, Die 
Aufgaben der neutestamentliehen Foriehung in der Cfegeniomi, Leipzig, 1909. 


they must be solved, and because I would fain 
regard a humble fraction of them as filling a part 
of my own life. On the other hand I find it 
difficult to speak of problems, because to do so is 
to speak of things unfinished. It raises a vision of 
books by the dozen lying open upon one another, 
of hundreds of written slips and sheets of MS., of 
library dust and work done by artificial light on dull 
days, of hopes raised only to be dashed, and of the 
investigator's sorry bartering day after day a single 
problem solved for ten others unsolved. This last 
part of my book is difficult more especially because 
I know that what the student strives to attain is 
something great, whereas what he actually does 
attain will be but the poor work of man after all, 
and by speaking of the great thing too soon he 
awakens expectations which he cannot fulfil. But 
this, I take it, is the fate, and I do not hesitate to 
say the happy fate, of aU real research, showing how 
closely akin it is to the work of the artist : its powers 
must be strengthened by struggling towards an ideal 
which is unattainable, because ideal, but which 
nevertheless always remains the goal to be attained. 

The most obvious task has reference to the written 
records themselves. As many new texts as possible 
must be discovered and pubhshed with all care. 

The period of excavations for papjrri in Egypt is 
by no means ended, and many workers are still 
required for the systematic collection and preservation 
of the despised ostraca. 

New editions of the inscriptions on stone, metal, 
etc. are, as was shown in the first chapter, in active 
preparation at the present time on a large scale. 
But the amount of inscriptions still lying undeir- 
ground or built into the walls of mediaeval and 


modern edifices is beyond computation; the lime- 
kilns fortunately have not swallowed up everything. 
The remark may be added that, whereas the acqui- 
sition of new texts, especially where excavations have 
to be made, is largely a question of funds, it is still 
possible at the present day to accomplish much 
with a comparatively small outlay if the money is 
entrusted to the right people. In Germany our 
gratitude is especially due to the wealthy private 
individuals who of late years have shown their 
interest in the cause of learning by supplying the 
means for excavations and purchases, England and 
America having long ago set us an admirable example 
in this direction. 

The next duty of scholars is to discuss the texts 
scientifically in their bearings on language, literature, 
religious and general social history. Editors ought 
to facihtate this discussion by making the arrange- 
ment of the printed texts as convenient and clear 
as possible. There should be no false shame about 
providing (always, if possible) translations of the 
texts ; many hidden difficulties first show themselves, 
even to the speciaUst, when he really begins to 
translate sentence by sentence. 

Of the many individual problems which the new 
texts can help to solve there are some to which 
I would call special attention. The types of popular 
narrative style must be traced throughout the extent 
of the ancient civilisations, particularly the following: 
narratives of miracles,^ accounts of healing and de- 
liverance from danger, narratives of expiation,^ 
dreams, visions, travellers' tales of adventure, and 
stories of martyrdom. The history of ancient letter- 

' Cf . the works of Beitzenstein and others mentioned at p. 393 above. 
= Hints in Bnresoh, Avs I^dien, p. lllff. 


writing, accompanied by careful reconstruction of 
autograph letters and fragments, must be continued 
further with special attention to the formal phrase- 
ology which is of such importance in problems of 
chronology. The letters and aUied texts must more- 
over be interpreted as reflections of the family life 
and soul-life of antiquity, particularly with the object 
of investigating the emotions at work among the 
lower classes. All the resources of ancient folklore 
are to be pressed into the service of this research : it 
is not to be a mere collection of curiosities enabling 
us to feel the contrast between ourselves and an- 
tiquity ; it must be reconstitutive psychology of the 
people, enlightening us as to our permanent contact 
with antiquity. 

4. Most of these problems, no doubt, wiU find 
their solution beyond the pale of the Faculties of 
Theology, although the hard-and-fast divisions be- 
tween the guilds of learning have vanished here 
and there, and are still vanishing, greatly to the 
advantage of research. But there wUl be quite 
enough for the theologians to do. The tasks pre- 
sented to us may be summed up in a single sentence : 
We have to establish, with the aid of the authentic 
records of the ancient world,^ the positive position, 
based on social history and psychology, on which 
scholarship may take its stand for the study of the 
New Testament. The one-sided method of retro- 
spection, which has too often blinded us to religion 
by its insistence on dogma, must give way to 
inquiries concerning the history of religion and the 

* Including, of couise, the authentic records of ancient Judaism and the 
other Semitic religions, of which we had not to speak in the present 


psychology of religion. That is the motto, as it 
were, and in it more stress is to be laid than usual 
upon the word religion. The study of purely religious 
texts — manifestations of piety that certainly did not 
proceed from learned meditation — must inevitably 
open our eyes to the living piety with which the 
New Testament is instinct. 

These historical and psychological inquiries will 
lead on to a new problem, the solution of which has 
an equally important bearing on the detailed exegesis 
and on the collective criticism of the classical texts 
of Christianity, viz. the problem of defining the 
various types of rehgious production within the New 
Testament. What many have taken to be one vast 
expanse of neutral tint will be seen to be a har- 
monious succession of the most varied shades of 
colour. What injustice, for instance, has been done 
to the great Evangelist, St. John, by demanding 
from him a "progress of thought " in the speeches in 
his gospel, and a " consecutive plan " in his epistle,^ 
as if his were a systematic nature. St. John has no 
liking for progress along an unending straight road ; 
he loves a circling flight, like his symbol, the eagle. 
There is something hovering and brooding about his 
production ; repetitions are in no wise abnormal with 
him, but the marks of a contemplation which he 
cherishes as a precious inheritance from St. Paul 
and further intensifies. The other types of religious 
production may be worked out with the same clear- 
ness of definition — Jesus most certainly, Paul also, 
and the rest of the seers, consolers, and evangehsts. 

In far higher degree than is possible to any kind of 
dogmatist exegesis, the historical and psychological 
exegesis will lielp us to understand why the cult 

• [I.e., 1 John. Te.J 


of Christ was destined to mark the turning-point 
in the world's religion. And the forces of inward 
life which this exegetical method sets free once 
more in the New Testament will bring forth fruit 
in quite another manner in our own generation, 
bestowing refreshment on the weary . and heavy- 
laden (not on the well-fiUed and the bored) to-day 
as on the first day. 

5. Finally, among the multitude of particular 
problems there is one which may be specially 
selected as probably the most important task of 
New Testament research at the present time, viz. 
the preparation of a new Lexicon to the New 

A lexicon is only another name for a dictionary. 
A dictionary, most people would say, is a very simple 
thing — a book containing foreign words in alpha- 
betical order, with their English meanings. So 
there is nothing remarkable about it, nothing re- 
markably learned or scientific; it is in the first 
place a business enterprise, a book to meet the 
requirements of practical life, ranking with Bradshaw 
and the Post Office Directory: a portly volume 
perhaps, but its inside merits more dependent on 
the printer than on the author ; the chief thing is 
to find a publisher, and all the rest will follow. 
Memory reverts, perhaps, to our schooldays. That 
awful passage in Caesar, where he describes how 
he bridged the Rhine— how unintelligible it all 
was, until we looked up the hard words in the 
dictionary and saw in an instant what each one of 
them "meant." Nothing could have been simpler 
for a boy who knew his A B C and had the gump- 
tion to look for trabs under the letter T. 


If there is a tendency in some quarters to despise 
dictionaries as "unscientific," there exists a no less 
widespread tendency to bow slavishly to their pro- 
nouncements. " It is in the dictionary, so it must 
be right " — that is the spoken or unspoken thought 
in innumerable cases where a person hurriedly con- 
sults the dictionary to settle the meaning of a 
foreign word. 

The scientific attitude towards lexicography begins 
the minute we learn that the meaning of a given 
word cannot always be got straight fi-om the dic- 
tionary, that every word presents a problem in 
itself, and that we have no right to speak scien- 
tifically about a word until we know its history, 
i.e. its origin, its meaning, and how meanings have 
been multiplied by division or modification. 

Scientific lexicography undertakes, therefore, to 
reconstruct the history of words from the earliest 
times to which our sources go back, in fact fi-om 
the primitive prehistoric period of the language 
which comparative philology establishes theoretically, 
down to the time when we find the words spoken 
or written by a given individual. 

Hence it follows that lexicography, in spite of 
many technical appendages, in spite of the fact 
that the customary alphabetical arrangement of 
words is dictated by practical and technical, and 
not by scientific considerations, is after all one of 
the historical sciences. It compiles the historical 
statistics of the language. 

Lexicography in this sense is still a young science. 
Lexicons were first made thousands of years ago, 
dictionaries on historical principles not until the nine- 
teenth century. As examples I may mention two of 
the latest big dictionaries, which are still incomplete : 


the Egyptian Dictionary prepared by the Berlin 
Academy of Sciences, and the Thesaurus Linguae 
Latinos,^ a great Latin Dictionary which has the 
joint support of a number of associated Academies. 

A Thesaurus Graecae Ldnguae also exists, and 
has often been cited in this book. It is a costly 
work in nine huge folios, but it by no means fulfils 
the requirements of scientific lexicography,^ and it 
is altogether out of date. The same may be said of 
aU Greek dictionaries whatever, even of the " Great 
Lexicon " ^ now in course of publication at Athens, 
which is only great, and not a lexicon at all. There 
is probably no department of classical philology in so 
backward a state at the present day as this of Greek 
lexicography. There is not a single manual Greek 
lexicon which takes adequate account of the great 
advances that have been made in etymology,* or of 
semasiological problems, or of the enormous additions 
to our statistical materials furnished by the new 
texts,^ though it is to be hoped the new edition of 
Franz Passow's old Lexicon undertaken by Wilhelm 
Cronert will mark the beginning of an improvement. 
The fact that our present lexicons hardly ever 

' Of. the Hamburg address by Hermann Dials quoted below, p. 41i, n. 2. 

2 Information on the history and requirements of Greek lexicography will 
be found most conveniently in Leopold Cohu's appendix on the subject 
contributed to Karl Brugmann's Grieclmohe Gframmatiltf Munchen, 1900. — A 
very useful book is Hermann Sohbne, Repertoriimi griecMseher Worterver- 
teichisse und SpeziaUexika, Leipzig, 1907. 

' Me7a Aefi/tov tijs BXXTjcaijs rXwirffijs AvearTj KuvarayTivLSov, ev ASrjvais, 
1901 fE. (3 volumes so far). 

* A good beginning among lexicons for school use has been made by 
Hermann Menge, QriecMsch^Deutsohes. Sohulworteriueh, Berlin, 1903. — For 
the scientific lexicographer the most important work is Walther Prellwitz, 
Mymologucheii Worterhuch der OriecMsehen SpracJie,^ Gbttingen, 1905. 

* In recent years H. van Herwerden, following an example set by others, 
has done most towards collecting the new details {Lexicon Oraeemn Supple- 
torium et Dialeetiewn, Lugduni Batavorum, 1902 ; Appendix Zexiei Graeei 
. . ., Lugd. Bat., 1904 ; Nova Addenda ... in the Melanges Moole, Geneve, 
1905, p. 241 fE. 

,,.. e.._.— --z.s:^-^s^-^^ '" ""■ '■"■ '^. r 



it in the inscriptions, papyri, etc. ; and the practical 
needs of Biblical students suggest that at the present 
time the more necessary of these two special tasks is 
the production of a revised New Testament Lexicon 
which shall promote the work of research without 
ceasing to be valuable for purposes of study. 

The lexicography of the Greek Bible can look back 
upon a venerable history. Philo of Alexandria, the 
contemporary of Jesus and St. Paul, was in all 
probability the author of a work explaining the 
Hebrew names in the Septuagint, which was after- 
wards used by Origen and St. Jerome. Portions 
of this earliest lexical tradition made their way 
among the Christian common people at an early 
date, as is shown by a precious papyrus fragment^ 
of the 3rd or 4th century a.d. (Figure 62) from 
Egypt, now in the Heidelberg University Library. 
This fragment — one of the few quite early Christian 
relics extant — is inscribed, probably for use as an 
amulet, with powerful and comforting Biblical names 
and phrases, accompanied by a Greek translation 
which is dependent on the learned lexical tradition.^ 
The text, exactly transliterated, is as follows: — 

Apifia Iija-ovi tcaa-corrjpia 

Arima. Jesus : Jo ' salvation 

ApiriX (fteoa-fiovdv 

Ariel : my light of God. 

A^ar}\ itrxvaOv 

Azael : strength of God. 

(a word crossed out) 

(a word crossed out) 

laifiav lamiruTTi'i 

5 Joman : Jao ' faith. 

JeDj3aj3 Ift> Trarrjp 

Jobab : Jo father. 

HXi, JSki qa^a')(davi : defwvde 

Eli Eli sazachthani : my God, 


my God, to what purpose 

hast Thou forsaken me ? 

' Published by me in the VeroffentKohuTigen aus der Ifeidelberger Papyru»- 
Sammhmg I. No. 5 (p. 86 ft.). ' Of. my detailed commentary, ibid. 

• Jo and Jao are divine names, derived ultimately from Jahreh. 


of two abridgments, one (Manuak) of medium and 
the other (Syllabus) of quite small size.^ 

The greatest additions to New Testament lexico- 
graphy were made by the eighteenth-century com- 
pilers of "Observations," the most remarkable of 
whom, Walch, has been already mentioned above.^ 
It was chiefly their material that supplied the Mer 
lexicographers, including those whose books we still 
use to-day: Wilke and Grimm, Cremer, Joseph Henry 
Thayer, etc. Of these Thayer, working upon the 
solid foundation of Wilke and Grimm, produced the 
best and maturest results.' But even Thayer is now 
out of date. In the second and fourth chapters of 
this book I have shown, I think, what an abund- 
ance of material is now waiting to be worked up 
systematically. For no other book of the ancient 
world are the new texts of the Graeco-Roman period 
lexically so productive as for the New Testament. 

The first main task of the future lexicon will be 
to place the New Testament vocabulary in living 
linguistic connexion with the contemporary world. 
Only in this way can the right place be found for 
-every word, the place to which it belongs in the 
■complete history of the Greek language, and only in 
this way can the points of contact and of contrast 
be estabhshed between the contemporary world and 
the cult-words used in the gospels and apostolic 
writings. An author who undertook a New Testa- 
ment Lexicon at the present day without sketching 
in each article the history and statistics of words 
and meanings, would banish the apostle of the 

world from his own world, banish the gospel from 

' I myself possess altogether 29 different editions of the Lexicon, Manuale, 
and Syllabus, and should be very grateful for information about any copies of 
the three works. ' Page 10, n. 4. 

' Cf. my review in the Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1898, p. 920 fE. 



history, shut off the New Testament from the light 
of research, and take up his own position far 
behind Thayer and Grimm, even far behind Cremer, 
along with Stellhorn and Schirlitz, i.e. outside the 
pale of scientific lexicography altogether. The second 
main task is to ascertain carefully the phases in the 
changes of meaning. It wiU first be necessary, it is 
true, to bestow some more reflection on the nature 
and laws of the changes to which religious concepts are 
liable — this being perhaps the most interesting branch 
of the whole subject of semasiology.^ The third main 
task is to simplify once more and put warmth again 
into the popular concepts of Primitive Christianity, 
which have been artificially complicated and deprived 
of life by scholastic prejudice and a too anxious 
process of isolation. The new Lexicon will bring 
out once more the simplicity, inwardness, and force 
of the utterances of evangelists and apostles. And 
as in the days long gone an Egj^tian Christian wrote 
down on the papyrus the interpretation of powerful 
and comforting holy names to be his shield and 
buckler against all evils, so perhaps the new Lexicon 
will meet with that best of all rewards, far exceeding 
all scholarly recognition, the reward of exerting an 
influence in real life. It may be that in a lonely 
parsonage in the Westerwald,^ or in the hired lodgings 
of the city preacher, it will help on Saturday mornings 
to unfold the thought in the sacred text to the benefit 
of the Sabbath congregation. 

' Detached problems of religious semasiology are touched on in my lexical 
studies on " Elements " ((rrotxeJa) in the Encyclopaedia Bibliea II., London, 
1901, col. 1258 ft., and on " IXaa-T^pios und tKaaT^pi.o)'" Zeitschrift fur die neu- 
testamentliche Wissenschaft, 4 (1903) p. 193 fE. Of. also p. 208 n., etc. above. 

^ [A rather bleak hilly district of Nassau, north-west of Coblenz, bounded 
by the Dill (p. 113, n. 1 above) and the Lahn. The author was bom at a village 
on the Lahn, and Herborn, where he and Pasor worked (pp. 229 n., 416 above), 
is on the Dill. Tb.] 


Inspired by such objects to work for, the New 
Testament researcher hears with composure and 
without lasting disgust the unbrotherly insults of 
excited ignoramuses who, agitating for the quiet 
Kingdom of God with the paltry means of this 
world, and imitating in their dwarfishness the in- 
tolerance of the heroes, think themselves able to 
break the bonds that connect him with his fathers 
and forefathers — bonds that he would fain cherish 
with reverence and gratitude. 

Such noise from the street disturbs him less, 
perhaps, than a feeling that comes over him at times 
in his own study. He feels there is a painful side 
to the learned work of the scholar — a risk that amid 
the chaos of paper-slips he may lose his own self, 
while the age he lives in calls for men who can do 
more than decipher old handwriting, excerpt words 
on paper-slips, and read proof-sheets. In the midst 
of his learned labours comes the question : Is not 
more accomplished by the men who hoe the vine- 
yard, who descend the mine, repair the steamer's 
screw, help a degenerate back to the right path, 
exhaust themselves as teachers, leaders, and evange- 
lists among the masses — do they not all do more work 
for God's cause than the man who proposes to write 
a new book, thus adding to the hundredweights' 
which already bind our generation in slavery to the 
past ? . . . 

It is always the New Testament itself that calls 
the man of research back from his wandering thoughts 
to work on the New Testament again. Daily it 
bears witness to him of its own veriest nature : the 
little Book is not one of the paralysing and enslaving 
forces of the past, but it is full of eternal strength to 
make strong and to make free. 




(Beprinted with slight alterations and with the illustrations now first added, 
from PMlologus 61 [1902] pp. 253-265) 

The "prayers for vengeance" from Rheneia (Rhenea), though 
published long ago and several times discussed, at least in part, 
were first made really accessible in 1901, by Adolf Wilhelm.^ 
He not only reproduced them in facsimile, but also for the 
first time settled with certainty the questions of their connexion, 
their provenance, and their age. They are inscribed on two 
gravestones, one of which is now in the Museum at Bucharest, 
and the other in the National Museum at Athens." That the 
stele at Athens originally came from Rheneia (Magna Delos), 
the burial-place of the inhabitants of ancient Delos, Wilhelm 
was able to show from a note which he re-discovered in the first 
publication ' ; and he proved clearly that the stone at Bucharest 
ivas of the same origin. Wilhelm also recognised that the 
Inscriptions were Jewish and closely connected with the text 
jf the Septuagint, yet even after his fundamental labours the 
texts still require to be interpreted, and their high value for 
the history of the Jewish religion in the Hellenistic world still 
stands in need of appreciation. 

' Jahreshefte des Osterreichischen Archaologischen Institutes in Wlen, 4 
1901) Supplement, cols. 9-18. The whole previous literature is there referred 
;o. In col. 9, n. 1, read LXXVn instead of XXXVII. 

' Even Dittenbeiger, SylUge Inservptionwm Graecarum^ II. (1900) p. 676 f., 
xjnsidered the Bucharest stone as identical with the Athenian, and said it 
same from Aegina to Athens, and from there to Bucharest. This seems, 
jowever, to have put Wilhelm upon the right track. 

' Expedition scientifi^ue de Marie , . . Architecture, Sculptures, Insciip- 
lions et Yues . . . publiSes par AbeljBlouet, III., Paris, 1836, plate xiii., cf. p. 7 ; 
md especially the exhaustive commentary by Le Bas in the separately paged 
iupplement to this work : Inscriptions copiSes dans les iles de la mer £g§e, 
?. 41 ff. 


• W5"53--'il^»-V' 


I will first describe the stones and reproduce the texts accord- 
ing to Wilhelm, checking his statements by my own observations 
of the originals. The Bucharest stele, being the less damaged 
of the two, had better be described first. I saw it on 5 April,, 
1906. It is made of white marble, broken at the top, provided 
with a tenon underneath, and now still 16^ inches high, 12; 
inches broad, and 2J inches thick. Both sides of the stone 
have the same inscription, but with a different division into lines 
and other trifling variations (Figures 64 and 65). Above the 
written words on both sides there is a pair of uplifted hands,, 
with the palms turned outwards. The text of the side A 
(Figure 64), which still shows traces of having been originally 
picked out in red, runs as follows (the words have been 
separated ; accents and punctuation are supplied, and the 
variant readings of the side B are noted below ; no attempt 
has been made to exhibit the differences in the division into 
lines) : — 

'ETTiKaXov/iai, kcli a^iw tov Oeov rov 
vyjria-TOP, rbv Kvpiov t&v irvevfidrwv 
Kal vd<r7j^ trapKoi, iirl rov? SoXcot ^avev- 
<TavTa<; r} <f>ap/j,aKeva'avTa9 rr/v ra- 
5 Xalircapov dwpov 'SpaKKeav e^j^eay- 
Ta9 avrfjii to avairiov alfia aSir 
«a)9, tva ovTco^ yevrjTat Tol<i ^ovev- 
aacTiv avrr/v 77 (f)apiMiKevcrairiv Kai 
TO?? TeKVOK avrSyv, Kvpie Trdvra i- 
10 ^o'pwv Kal 01 avyeXoi 0eov, & vatra ■yp'V- 
•Xrj iv TTj (Trjpxpov '^/lepai raireivovrai 
/jbeff' t/cereta?, "va iySiKijoT)'; ro al/jui to a- 
VMTiov ^rjTTjaei's Kal Trjv Ta^i'O'TTjv. 

3 Bo\m : B SoXco | 6 avcunov : B av[. .]nov \ 7 owrw? : 
B o[.]Tm I 10 <5 : Wilhelm w | 11 t^ : Wilhelm Ty \ iipxpai : 
B 97/t€/)a I 12 eySiie^a-rji! : Wilhelm eyBiK'^a-rj^ \ m/mi : B a[. .]a 

The Athenian stele, which I saw on 8 May, 1906, is also of 
white marble, adorned with a pediment above, and provided 
with a tenon below ; it is much damaged above and on the 
left side, but still 22 inches high, 13 inches broad, and 8 J 
inches thick. It is inscribed only upon one side, and there is 
not the slightest doubt, judging from the general structure 



fi -s " 

S M 

# " 

_aj, t3 

O r^ 

C« O 

a a 

0) m 

■H "^ 


«> a 

fH d 

(D (p 

tH W 

a) 3 



m « 


g & 




9 ^ 

so in 

a CD 


> _6C 

o '^ 


n Pq 

53 ^ 


f-J <a 






1— 1 

T3 fl 

QJ d 




^ .^^ 


M -^ 





.g bb 










O -t^ 


S a 


*" 2 


^ =fj 



^ O 


oj W 


^ S 


Ti o 

t— 1 

03 '-' 


Fig. 66. — Marble Stele from Eheneia, inscribed 
with a Prayer for Vengeance on the Murderers of 
Marthina, a Jewess of Delos, circa 100 B.C. Now 
in the National Museum, Athens. By permission of 
the Imperial Austrian Archaeological Institute. 

[r. 426 



of the mutilated upper portion, and from certain remainmg 
traces, that above the inscription there was engraved a pMr 
of hands similar to those on the Bucharest stele' (Figure 66). 
The text, which may be confidently restored with the help of 
the Bucharest inscription, runs as follows: — 

["E7rtK]dKo[vnai ml a^im tov 6eov rov {)-] 
\^i\aTo\y, TOV Kvpiov] t<»[i' irvevfidTcov] 
[K]al ■7r[a]o-[i?s <Tapico]<;, iirl tovs [So\o)t] 
^o\vev<TavTai'\ i) (j>apiuiKevtf'av- 
5 ral'i T7)v TaXailiroapov dwpov Map- 
[d]iv[T]v 6}^;^eai']Tos avT7J<i to avaiTi- 
ov alp[^a aSt'/ceo]?, "va ovTtat yevrjTai, 
rot's ^ov[eva'a]<nv avTr/v rj (j>apfiaKev- 
traaiv Kal [tok rje/H/ot? avT&v, Kvpie 
10 6 irdvTa i\<^'\opwv ical ol dvyeXoi deov, mi 
traaa ^frvxi] iv ttj crrj/Mepov rj/jbepai tu- 
veivovTM /leO' iKeTeia<;, 'iva ir^iiKricri)\<i\ 
to atfia TO dvaiTiov Kal Trjv Ta)(UTT'q\v\, 
11 TTi : Wilhelm t^ | 12 €'7St«^'o-5?[9] : Wilhelm e/cSt/e»;oT7[s]. 

The question of the age of these texts at Athens and 
Bucharest shall be postponed until after their intei-pretation ; 
but we may remark here that according to Wilhelm they both 
originated not only at the same spot, Rheneia, but also at the 
same time. There is such close agreement between the two 
inscriptions throughout that we are entitled to interpret them 
as two texts of the same original. 

It is evident at the first glance that the texts are either 
of Jewish or of Christian origin, for they are a mosaic from the 
Septuagint Bible which weis common to the Greek Jews and 
the Greek Christians, The echoes of the New Testament 
observed by Otto Hirschfeld ^ are in fact, as closer comparison 
ishows, echoes of the Septuagint, The texts contain nothing 
specifically and exclusively Christian either in formula or in 
symbol; nevertheless decisive judgment must be suspended 
until the interpretation has been attempted. 

• Wilhelm, col. 12. 

' Sitzungsbericlite der philosophisch-historischen Classe der kaiserl.Akademie 
der Wissenschaften [zu Wien], 77 (1874, Parts IV.-VI.) p. 404 f. 


The pair of hands above the writing is, as Wilhelm^ has 
already shown, a by no means uncommon symbol of the 
invocation of divine help on pagan stones. It might very 
easily pass over into the usage of Jews and Christians, since they 
too lifted up their hands in praying.^ In this case, moreover, 
a prayer is being uttered — a prayer for vengeance on the un- 
known miscreants by whom two murders had been committed. 
The rites prescribed by Old Testament law for atonement in 
the case of murder by an unknown hand facilitated the borrow- 
ing of the symbolic pair of hands in this case.' Though this 
ritual, as shown by our texts, was not observed in the present 
case, we may nevertheless suppose that here and there a devout 
person, who knew his 'Bible, at sight of the uplifted hands 
would think not only of hands in prayer, but also of hands free 
from blood.* 

The prayer begins with the verb iirncaXov^uu, which occurs in 
the same way very commonly in the LXX and in early Christian 
texts,' and often in the forms of prayer found in magical texts." 
The combination iiriKaXovfjuii, . . . tov 6eov tov vyjria-Tov has 
good analogies, e.g. in Ecclus. xlvi. 5, iireKoKea-aro tov v^uttov 
ovvdffTqv ; xlvii. 5, iireKoXiaaro yap Kvptov tov v^kttov ; 
2 Mace. iii. 31, iiriKoXeaaaOat tov v^urrov. We also find 
a^i& used of prayer, e.g. LXX Jer. vii. 16, xi. 14 (synonymous 
with irpoa-evxofuu), Ecclus. li. 14, and frequently in the second 
book of Maccabees. It is still more significant that both 
verbs are found together in the same sentence in Jer. xi, 14, 
though not in the same combination as in our text. On the 

' Col. 16 f . There also will be found the full literature on this symbol. See 
also Rudolf Pagenstecher, Die Auferweckung des Lazarus auf einer romischen 
Lampe, Eztrait du Bulletin de la Soci6t6 Archgologique d'Alexandrie, No. 11, 
Alexandrie, 1908, p. 6 f. 

' Besides the Old Testament passages of. for example 1 Tim. ii. 8. 

' Seut. xxi. 6, 7, kiU irtura ii yepov<rta t^s ttoX^ids ixeivris o! iYYlfmiTes t^J Tpaviiarlf 
fltfioyrai ris x^'P"! ^f' '"')'' ne^aXiir t^s Sa/mKeas r^s ve>i(vpoKairriiUvii)i h> tJ 
ip&payyi.. xal iwoKptBivTes ipowriv al xelpei ij/iSv oix ^f^x^"" ''^ of/to 
TOVTO .kt\. 

' The kohanivi hands represented on late gravestones of the descendants 
of Aaron (Immanuel Low, Der Fmger in Litteratur und Folklore der Jiiden, 
Gedenkbttcb zur Erinnernng an David Eaufmann, Breslau, 1900, p. 68) are of 
course not to be thought of in this connexion. 

' Separate quotations are unnecessary. 

• Often, for example, in the texts edited by Wessely. 


expression rov deov top v-^uttov Wilhelm ^ refers to E. Schiirer's 
and F. Cumont's well-known researches on the cult of the 
"Most High God," but what we have here is not a divine 
name in use among monotheistic worshippers who derived it 
only indirectly from the Bible : it is in fact the direct equivalent 
of the Biblical p^r h». 

Very remarkable too is the next divine name, rov Kvpiov 
r&v irvevfidrtov koX Traari<! aapKoi, which is obviously (as also 
in Clem. Rom. 1 Cor. Ixiv., SeffTroT?;? t&v irvevjidrav KaX Kvpiof 
Trda-rji aapKos;) based upon the formulae, LXX Numbers xvi. 22, 
xxvii. 16, deo<; or Kvpio<; o deo^ t&v Trvevfidrwv koI wdarjt! 
irapKov. The first part of the formula, " Lord of the spirits," 
is especially characteristic. Abe^y in the Septuagint formula 
the irvevfiara are the ministering spirits, the angels, who in 
Hebrews i. 14 are expressly so called. In the second part of 
the Book of Enoch " Lord of the spirits " is an almost constant 
appellation of the Deity. Elsewhere the form is not to my 
knowledge a common one, apart from the Greek liturgies and 
magical texts ; of earlier date may be mentioned 2 Mace. iii. 24, 
on good authority, and the above-cited passage from the first 
Epistle of Clement. 

For the construction